Late diners may lead to weight gain

  • by: Fondazione Valter Longo Onlus Editorial Staff
  • February 16th, 2021

Daily commitments and the current fast pace of life can lead us to change our habits, so much so that even mealtimes are often moved forward. A new study conducted at the University of Colorado, Denver (USA) draws attention to the fact that eating meals too late at night can contribute to weight gain. The results of this study were presented at Endo 2019, an international congress organized by the Endocrine Society, which takes place every year in New Orleans, Louisiana.

ANALYSIS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, SLEEP-WAKE RHYTHMS, AND EATING HABITS

Previous research has shown that eating and sleeping patterns are linked to overweight and obesity, but it remained unclear whether late dining was associated only to decreased sleep or to fat accumulation as well. This new study sheds light on the association between late evening dining and obesity. The sample consisted of 31 adults (90% women), who were either overweight or obese, with an average age of 36.

The researchers used 3 different types of technologies to monitor physical activity, sleep rhythms, wakefulness, and eating habits. The participants in the study wore an electronic device placed on their thigh for a week, which measured time engaged in physical activity and sedentary behaviors. A different device analyzed sleep-wake rhythms. Furthermore, the participants were instructed to use an app and record information relating to their eating habits, such as meals and snacks consumed during the day.

After analyzing the data, it was found that, on average, participants ate food within an 11-hour period and slept about 7 hours every night. Participants who dined late in the evening went to sleep later than the others, but rested the same number of hours as those who dined earlier. Furthermore, the significant finding was that individuals who ate late had a higher Body Mass Index (signal of overweight and obesity), and higher amount of body fat.

However, it is possible to reduce the accumulation of excess fat and avoid the risk of overweight and obesity. Other research is therefore aimed at studying the effects of meal intake within a specific time window, and see how this can impact weight gain, fat accumulation, and metabolic problems.

SOURCES:

Ise – International Society of Endocrinology – ENDO 2019

Endocrine Society – “Clinical Practice Guidelines – Evidence-Based Resources for Care2”

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