Rather than burning more calories to lose weight, research has found that by lowering your appetite through intermittent fasting (IF) or eating earlier in the day you are able to increase fat burning and weight loss. Published in the journal ‘Obesity’, the study was the first of it’s kind to show that meal timing affects 24-hour energy metabolism when food intake and meal frequency are matched.
“Coordinating meals with circadian rhythms, or your body’s internal clock, may be a powerful strategy for reducing appetite and improving metabolic health,” said Eric Ravussin, PhD, one of the study’s authors and associate executive director for clinical science at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.
Courtney M. Peterson, PhD (lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham), reported that meal timing strategies may burn more fat on average over the course of a day. ETRF (Early Time-Restricted Feeding) which is a type of IF where dinner is eaten in the afternoon was able to able to switch from burning carbs to burning fats for energy.
“We suspect that a majority of people may find meal timing strategies helpful for losing weight or to maintain their weight since these strategies naturally appear to curb appetite, which may help people eat less,” said Courtney M. Peterson.
Hollie Raynor, PhD, RD, LDN, who was not associated with the research, said “this study helps provide more information about how patterns of eating, and not just what you eat, may be important for achieving a healthy weight.” Raynor is a professor and interim dean of research in the Department of Nutrition, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.