Summer 2013

Eating by the Clock

Late lunchers may be more susceptible to weight gain

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Illustration: Juliette Borda

Whatever your diet consists of, when you eat may play a significant role in how much weight you gain, a recent study suggests. The study, conducted by researchers from Tufts, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the University of Murcia in Spain, followed 420 individuals who enrolled in a 20-week weight-loss program in Spain.

Subjects were divided into two groups: early eaters (who ate a Mediterranean-style lunch before 3 p.m.) and late eaters (who ate the same lunch after 3 p.m.). The study results, published in the January 13 issue of International Journal of Obesity, showed that early eaters lost an average of 22 pounds in 20 weeks, while late eaters lost 17 pounds.

Researchers suspect that the body might process glucose generated by the meals differently, depending on the time of day. Another factor in the weight-loss difference might be that late eaters tended to eat less for breakfast, or skip the meal altogether, contrary to most dieting advice.

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