Are you a midnight snacker who regularly fights off the urge to satisfy your cravings late at night in order to keep the pounds off? Well you can now dig in guilt-free because new research suggests you don’t have to eat early in the day to lose weight. According to a new study, the timing of the meals doesn’t matter when it comes to weight loss, as long as you’re eating the same number of calories.
Researchers followed 41 overweight adult participants over 12 weeks, and half of them ate most of their calories before 1pm, while the others ate the majority of theirs after 5pm. Both groups ate the same healthy prepared meals, just at different times. And by the end of the study, people in both groups had lost weight and lowered their blood pressure, which suggests there isn’t an advantage to eating early.
These findings even surprised researchers. “We thought that the time-restricted group would lose more weight. Yet that didn’t happen,” explains study author Dr. Nisa Maruthur. “We did not see any difference in weight loss for those who ate most of their calories earlier versus later in the day.”
- While the total amount of calories you eat seems to matter more than when you eat them, previous research has shown that eating at night may lead to more junk food. A study from September found that eating later is linked to eating more processed foods and more calories overall and that nighttime snacking was also more likely to include alcohol, which may lead to unhealthy food choices and overindulging.