Dr. Helen

Does Timing Your Meals Help With Weight Loss?

A new study proposes that when we eat is important when it comes to losing weight:

This is a story about the importance of good timing.

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. This excess weight contributes to a variety of health problems. Despite enormous effort over decades, the problem has proved extremely difficult to solve. Biologist Satchin Panda thinks we’re missing a key variable: Instead of focusing so much on what we eat, he says, we should pay more attention to when we eat.

A researcher at the Salk Institute in San Diego, Panda argues that eating within a certain time window each day can help people lose weight and may help prevent illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. In animal studies, he and others have shown that limiting food intake to a period of eight to 12 hours can boost cognitive and physical performance, and may even lengthen life span. Known as time-restricted feeding, or TRF, the approach is simple: Eat more or less what you want, but don’t consume anything before or after the allotted time….

In addition, Peterson and others say, some of the benefits of TRF may stem from decreased consumption due to the shortened eating window: It’s not really surprising that cutting out the after-dinner drink and the late-night sundae is good for weight loss and overall health. And, in fact, studies in humans and animals have found that TRF helps both mice and people eat fewer calories.

I am skeptical. I doubt that one can eat what they want for ten hours a day and lose weight. It is more likely that restricting the time one eats probably causes a person to eat less which is fine, but it is not the timing that does it, it is less food.