This Is the Best Time to Eat Dinner If You Want to Lose Weight

Victoria Hoff

If only weight loss were a simple maths equation of calories in versus calories out—we know, of course, that it's a little bit more complicated than that. Still, we're typically so focused on the proportions (and portions) of every food and nutrient we're putting into our mouth—not to mention our strategies for burning it all off—that we might overlook other factors that could still be at play. Timing is one of them.

We already knew that many experts advise against eating after 8 p.m. if you're actively trying to shed pounds. This strategy's efficacy has been hotly debated for years in the scientific community. But those in favour have new research on their side: A study out of Louisiana State University shows that eating a much earlier dinner—or even skipping it all together—can do a lot to shift the scales in the right direction.

Scientists put 11 men and women on two different eating schedules: For the first four days, they were permitted to eat between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., and during the next four days, they ate from 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The subjects ate the same amount of calories during each trial. Not only did the participants burn more fat during the first four days—fascinatingly enough, their hunger levels were more stable too.

All in all, the findings mean that the timing of our meals could have an impact on our metabolism—and it also speaks to the effectiveness of intermittent fasting as well. Will we be skipping our dinners? Yeah… maybe not. But maybe it's time to start hitting up some early bird specials.

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