When it comes to weight loss, how much you eat is more important than when you eat. According to a study published Wednesday. In the Journal of the American Heart Association.Researchers
at Johns Hopkins University asked 547 people to record the size of their meals. And the time they ate each day on a mobile app for six months. The scientists then looked at how much the
Meals recorded in the study were separated into three size categories: a small meal containing. Fewer than 500 calories. A medium meal containing 500 to 1,000 calories, and a large meal
containing more than 1,000 calories. Overall, the results showed, participants who ate the largest and medium meals gained. Weight over six years, while those who ate fewer, smaller meals lost weight.
This is consistent with the long-standing and well-understood rule that eating. Fewer calories contributes to weight loss.
The researchers did not find a link between weight change and the practice of restricting. Food intake to a specific time window — often referred to as intermittent fasting. They found no association between weight change and the time of a person’s first meal. After waking up or the last meal or snack before bed.
“This research shows that changing the time you eat is not going to prevent gradual weight gain. Over many, many years – and perhaps the most effective strategy is to monitor how much you eat, and by eating. Fewer large meals and more small meals. Dr Wendy said Bennett, an author of the study and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins
The study included people of various weights, including those who were overweight or severely obese. The observed weight changes were small overall. Though: Those who ate extra daily meals saw less than 1 pound of extra weight. Gain per year, compared to those who didn’t eat extra meals.
“The effect is so small, I wouldn’t tell anyone to change what they’re doing,” said Courtney Peterson. Associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who was not involved in the study.
Bennett, however, said his research provides evidence that limiting meal size can. Be effective for loss, even after adjusting for people’s baseline weight. (It’s easier for people who are overweight to gain or lose pounds.)
He also noted that the average person gains 1 or 2 pounds per year, which can amount. To significant gain over time. Eating fewer large meals and more small meals, then, “can prevent that slow rate of weight gain,” Bennett said.
But Peterson said he doesn’t see the research as “a slam dunk” when it comes to determining the best weight-loss strategy.
Other studies have shown that the timing of a person’s first meal of the day. May matter: A study published in October found that eating earlier in the day may contribute to weight loss. Possibly by helping people burn calories or feel fuller throughout the day.
On average, participants in Bennett’s study ate their meals in an 11.5-hour window. With their first meal less than two hours after waking and their last about four hours before bedtime.
To better test whether intermittent fasting can help with weight loss, Peterson said, researchers need. To directly compare people who limit their food intake.Previous studies with this type of design have produced mixed results.
Some research suggests that fasting every other day, or restricting calories two days per week.Can help people with obesity lose weight. But other studies have shown that restricting eating to certain periods does not reduce body weight. More than restricting daily calorie intake.
“Time-restricted eating can be really helpful, I think. When it helps people limit their calories,” Bennett said. “We already know that calorie restriction is the most effective strategy for weight loss.”
“Some of our best data in humans suggests that meal quality is more important than meal timing,” Peterson said.