For Weight Loss Success, Think About When, Not Just What, You Eat

Timing is everything for losing weight.

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Timing is everything for losing weight .

In the latest collaborative study, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Tufts University and the University of Murcia in Spain, found that the time of day you eat large meals may help to  predict how many pounds you drop.

In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, the scientists monitored 420 overweight participants on a 20-week weight loss program in Spain. The volunteers were split into two groups: early-eaters and late-eaters. Since lunch is considered the largest meal in Spain–about 40% of the day’s calories are consumed in the mid-day meal–half the participants ate lunch before 3 p.m. while the remainder ate lunch after 3 p.m.

(MORE: The Secrets to Weight Loss: Keep a Food Journal, Don’t Skip Meals, Eat In)

The late-eaters lost less weight overall, and shed pounds at a slower rate than those eating earlier. Those eating lunch later were more likely to skip breakfast or eat fewer calories, while the timing of breakfast and dinner didn’t influence weight loss effectiveness for either group. The researchers also considered other factors such as total caloric intake, energy expenditure, the appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin, and amount of sleep, but found they were similar in both groups.

“The timing of the main meal by itself seems to be the most determinant factor in weight loss effectiveness, and therefore eating at the right time may be a relevant factor to consider in weight loss therapies,” the authors write. They acknowledge that other factors may still explain the faster weight loss among the late eaters, such as genetics and how much each group slept on average, but the timing of the day’s largest meal was still worth considering as an important contributor to weight.

(MORE: Calorie vs. Calorie: Study Evaluates Three Diets for Staying Slim)

The findings support weight loss advice that suggests eating the biggest meal of the day earlier, which increases the chances that you can burn off the calories you take in. As simple as it sounds, however, changing the timing of meals may not be easy for everyone. “Some people like to exercise at four in the morning. I don’t get it, but it works for them,” says Dr. Tim Church, director of the Laboratory of Preventive Medicine at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who is unaffiliated with the study. “It’s the same thing for eating. There are certain people where certain timing and patterns work for them.”

To maintain healthy weight, it’s also important to eat when you are hungry, and not just in response to food cravings. “Hunger peaks when you expect it to peak at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cravings peak after dinner,”  he  says. But eating late at night can raise body temperature as well as blood glucose and insulin levels, which disrupts the fat-burning that generally occurs during sleep. Timing meals, especially the heaviest meals, can make a difference in whether calories are processed into extra pounds or burned away.


For the learning, researchers from your University involving Sussex from the U. E. asked 35 participants to either take a high-protein soup with added MSG (which meal manufacturers frequently use to lend umami to many techniques from canned soup to Oriental food) or another soup with no flavor the booster. Later, everyone sat into the same meal, and the subjects that had consumed the MSG-laced soup consumed much less food—and stated they even now felt whole.


Have you ever tried to lose weight ? Have you ever searched the web for programs to lose weight , hope you will get good advice and that will help you lose weight? If you are reading this article, this is probably what you are doing now . I say it is difficult to find weight loss programs of quality that will give good advice or directions.


I Have been  an off-on dieter trying to lose weight for the last 20 years.Every diet did result in weight loss,some slowly,some rapidly but each one failed at least  one of the three basic  tests essential for success --practicality,sustainability and beneficial.Finally I have been able to lose 12 kilos in three months by following the civilian (my own) version of the American Military Diet-AMD. Basic principle of this diet is to deceive your body and let it not realise that you are dieting because the body adjusts itself to every diet.It means three days of controlled eating and four days of normal eating, coupled with moderate exercise.(.Real AMD is My God,very strenuous but it does result in quick and substantial results in a very short period of time ).But before you search internet and start following AMD,please  do the following;

1.Find out from your doctor how many Bakras(sheep/goat)  you are carrying on your shoulders..One Bakra is normally 20 kg .So if you are 40 kg over-weight, which you must be, if you have read so far,it means you are always carrying two Bakars on your shoulders.Let us throw them in 3/4 months.

2.Find out the motivation for losing the weight ;otherwise you will not reach the goal.For me when I was not married,my motivation to lose weight was very obvious! After marriage I had to  remain fit so that I  can save money on clothing and she could spend  the money thus saved on her clothing.And now when I an in my 60s , the main driving force  is to spend the rest of my life in a healthy way

3.Never diet--yes never.Do not keep yourself hungry.Hunger is the worst enemy of any  dieting plan.Just reduce the food  intake ,balance it by reducing carbohydrates and fat and substantially  eliminating sugar.Increase the intake of meat,particularly fish and fresh vegetables. And of course  water.Four glasses of water early in the morning before breakfast,the famous Japanese formula, is an excellent way to control weight gain.

4.Moderate exercise in four or five spurts of 2/3 minutes each will go a long way to reduce the extra weight.Do not go for long spells of  exercise,at least in the first month.It only results in unnecessary fatigue and de motivation.

5.Do go to parties and functions but never tell anyone that you are dieting.Just put lean meat and lot of fresh salad and eat slowly.Do pour some drinks but leave the glass half full.'  


This study hardly gives evidence that time of day contributes to weight change. Perhaps skipping meals earlier in the day led to some metabolic changes, or larger portions at the evening meal (which would have occurred as calories were the same but number of meals were less, compared to the earlier eaters) contributed; clearly, the verdict is not out. But what we can say, is that eating later at night itself did not cause weight GAIN--which is what is often mistakenly claimed!

Lori Lieberman, RD, MPH, CDE, LDN


Eat lots of a mix of veggies, some fruits, a little bit of grain, and small very amounts of other things.

Get regular exercise that raises your heart rate.

Limit portions, and have the better foods for small meals in between.

Get more sleep.

These are the main ways to get better, WAY more than most other things.




Late lunch eaters lost less weight and displayed a slower weight-loss rate during the 20 weeks of treatment than early eaters (P=0.002). Surprisingly, energy intake, dietary composition, estimated energy expenditure, appetite hormones and sleep duration was similar between both groups. Nevertheless, late eaters were more evening types, had less energetic breakfasts and skipped breakfast more frequently that early eaters (all; P<0.05).


This article contradicts itself.  First it says:

The late-eaters lost less weight overall, and shed pounds at a slower rate than those eating earlier.

and later it says:

They acknowledge that other factors may still explain the faster weight loss among the late eaters.

So which is it?  Is there faster weight loss among late eaters?  Yes or No?