When it comes to weight loss, the timing of food intake is far less important than the amount of food consumed, suggest the authors of a new study.
After analyzing data on the diets of approximately 550 adults from three health care systems in Maryland and Pennsylvania, the researchers concluded: meal timing Although it has little effect on weight gain or weight loss, the main cause of weight gain is the amount of food people eat. Report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“We were most interested in preventing weight gain,” study co-author Dr. Wendy Bennett, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, told TODAY.com. As time goes on, people tend to gain about a pound a year.
Bennett said the study looked at dieting or time-restricted eating patterns (generally intermittent fasting“These people weren’t told when to eat,” she said. “These are free-living patients from three healthcare systems.”
To explore how people’s eating patterns affect weight gain, Bennett and her colleagues used a specialized app to track what they ate during the day, when they slept, and how long after they first woke up. We recruited 547 people to record how much they ate. Meals and time elapsed from last meal to bedtime.
Overall, we identified that most (80%) of the volunteers in this study were Caucasian, 12% Black, and 3% Asian. The average age of the participants was 51 years old, and most had a college degree or above. An average body mass index (BMI) of 30.8 is considered obese.
Researchers obtained the volunteers’ background health information from electronic medical records. The volunteer completed an online survey at the beginning of the study and he four months later. The survey asked about weight, race, gender, education, income, smoking status, weight intentions, and behavioral factors.
On the app, volunteers reported approximate meal timings and approximate sizes. They estimated by looking at illustrations showing small (500-calorie slice of pizza), medium (half of 500-1,000-calorie pizza), and large (one whole slice). 1,000+ calorie pizza).
On average, the time between the volunteers’ first and last meal was 11.5 hours, and the researchers reported that this timing was not associated with weight change. His average time from waking to breakfast was 1.6 hours. The average time from dinner to bedtime was 4.0 hours. Average sleep time is 7.5 hours.
Bennett’s colleagues said, “We found an association between eating more and more meals per day and weight gain. It shows that it is, ”he wrote. Their findings “do not support the use of time-restricted diets as a long-term weight loss strategy in the general medical population,” they added.
However, Holly Lofton, M.D., director of the NYU Langone Weight Management Program, who was not involved in the study, told TODAY.com that the researchers did not present enough data to support this conclusion. That said, she agrees that the main message from this study is that high calorie intake causes weight gain.
Dr. Anu Lala, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Health, also told TODAY.com that he wondered if a study directly comparing one weight loss method to another would be possible.
She adds: Exercise is not captured here. “
This article was originally published on TODAY.com