Do the calories you consume earlier in the day cause you to put on less weight than those you consume later on? Thatís long been a matter of debate, but new research suggests that meal timing may play a role in determining a personís body weight.
Researchers from Boston and Spain gave 420 overweight Spaniards a Mediterranean-style eating plan -- based on fresh produce, legumes, fish, and whole grains -- to help them lose weight; after 20 weeks, they found that those who ate their biggest meal earlier in the day lost about 25 percent more weight than those who ate it later in the day, according to the study published in the International Journal of Obesity.
While the amount of calories consumed and burned throughout the day didnít differ significantly among the early and late eaters, the early eaters lost 22 pounds compared with 16.5 pounds for the late eaters.
ďIt was really the timing of lunch that was the main factor that determined how successful dieters were,Ē said study co-author Frank Scheer, director of the medical chronobiology program at Brigham and Womenís Hospital. Skipping breakfast or eating a late dinner didnít seem to make a difference in the amount of pounds lost, though the late eaters were also more likely to skip breakfast.
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