As one ages, the metabolism tends to be slower and the extra pounds would start piling up. One theory to help keep off the pounds is to eat early in the day and make sure that to eat less in the later part of the day. But does this really work? Will restricting meals at an earlier time create an impact on weight loss?

Researchers from the American Heart Association, in a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2020, revealed that restricting meals early in the day did nothing to the weight of adults who were considered overweight.

Dr Nisa Maruthur, study author and Johns Hopkins University professor, said that for a long time they wondered whether eating during the day affects the manner by which the body would use and store energy. She said that most studies were not able to determine the number of calories eaten by participants so there was no way to find out if people who ate earlier in the day also ate fewer calories. What they changed in the 12-week study, was the time of eating.

The researchers monitored 41 overweight adults. About 90 percent of the participants were Black women who were dealing with diabetes or prediabetes. The average age was 59.

The participants were given the same pre-prepared healthy meals. Twenty-one of them followed a time-restricted diet, limiting the number of hours they ate every day, with 80 percent of their calories taken before 1 pm. The other 20 participants would eat at the usual time with half of their total calorie intake for the day eaten after 5 pm. The blood pressure of the participants was measured at the start of the study and at the end of every four weeks until the 12th week.

Surprisingly, the researchers found that participants in both groups lost weight. Both also had a drop in their blood pressure. So regardless of the time they ate, both groups lost weight.

Maruthur noted that they thought the group who were time-restricted would lose more weight but what they expected did not happen. They also did not see a difference in weight loss for those who ate earlier, as compared to those who ate later in the day. As regards blood pressure, there was no difference as well.

The researchers are in the process of collecting more information on blood pressure recorded in 24 hours and will be collating the info with that of the results of a study that looked at the effects on blood sugar and insulin of time-restricted feeding.

Eating Breakfast
Eating breakfast in the morning and weight loss. Photo: Pixabay