Timing of Meals can Affect Weight Gain and Impair Metabolism- by Dr. Richard Firshein

There is a great deal of controversy around eating times and weight loss. My general preference is to limit most calorie consumption to one meal a day and to fast or go on a calorie restricted meal plan for the rest of the day. This is in line with what current research suggests promotes longevity.

When choosing a diet I incorporate many factors including a patient’s metabolic profile, DNA and family history, cultural preferences and lifestyle. One factor that I consistently recommend against is eating late at night which forces the body to store calories while reducing metabolic function during the day. What I call the Sumo Wrestlers diet, a specific technique used by these portly athletes, which loads carbs late at night forcing their liver to store the meal as fat.

New findings from the University of Pennsylvania suggests that eating late at night is more dangerous than previously believed. This is because delayed eating also dis-regulates specific hormones such as insulin and predisposes people to numerous conditions including hyperlipidemia and diabetes.

In this small study, healthy patients underwent an evaluation looking at the amount of oxygen to carbon dioxide consumption, their metabolic rate, insulin levels, fasting glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as appetite hormones. What they discovered was that those individuals that ate later in the day, had much higher levels of certain hormones associated with weight gain.

The specific hormone- Ghrelin- which stimulates appetite, peaked earlier in the daytime. Whereas the hormone- Leptin- which keeps you satiated peaked later. This suggests that participants were receiving cues to eat earlier and eating earlier likely helped to keep them satiated longer.

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