Does Meal Timing Affect Weight Loss Results?
Do you know that what you eat doesn’t matter as much as when you eat it? While there are many experts who claim you should eat a certain number of meals a day, and only eat certain nutrients during those meals, the truth is that you need to create a plan that works best for you.
Meal Timing Influences Ghrelin Levels
Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite and regulates water and fluid intake. It is produced mostly by the stomach, and it not only causes you to feel hungry, but it also promotes fat storage.
During dieting, the amount of this hormone rises and makes it almost impossible to lose weight. The hunger messages and fat storage result in weight gain rather than weight loss. Ghrelin also promotes metabolic actions, such as a rise in blood sugar, which can contribute even more to weight gain in the long run.
The hormone can be suppressed, however, by eating the right foods in the right meals. For instance, eating protein at breakfast, which is often reserved for supper, has shown to provide more satisfaction after the meal, and has reduced the levels of ghrelin and other appetite-regulating hormones. This results in less consumption throughout the rest of the day, and helps promote weight loss.
“A University of Missouri researcher has found that eating a healthy breakfast, especially one high in protein, increases satiety and reduces hunger throughout the day.” – News Bureau
Mind Over Hunger
There are many diets that tell you to only eat a certain amount of meals per day, or to eat as much as 6 mini-meals per day. The problem is that not everyone’s hunger cues line up to those times, and this can affect weight loss by eating too much or too little.
Ghrelin can also be affected by this ritual of eating only at certain times rather than when you are hungry. It seems that ghrelin levels can be regulated by the mind as much as the actual need for food or water.
For instance, mental satisfaction after a meal can have a lot to do with ghrelin levels. If you feel you are not eating enough or eating food that leaves you feeling unsatisfied, then even when you do eat, your ghrelin levels may stay elevated enough to cause you to feel hungry still.
Lifestyle Plays A Part
Depending on where you work, what times you have available to eat, and how active you are, meal timing and food choice can make a huge difference in your ability to lose weight. As discussed in further detail in our review of the E-Factor Diet, meal timing can directly influence our body’s hormones and even water retention.
For instance, if you work in a physically demanding job that doesn’t break for lunch until early afternoon, then skipping breakfast can cause you to feel extremely hungry during the morning setting off many different reactions in your body that could cause your body to hold onto weight.
Alternatively, if you sit behind a desk all day, and can eat your first meal whenever you want, you may want to skip breakfast if you are not hungry so that you can maintain a calorie deficit.
In addition, if you find that you are hungry throughout the day and constantly snack, then eating 4-6 small meals per day may be your best option to stay satisfied and avoid overeating or indulging in unhealthy options.
And, if you work out hard and enjoy carbs, then you will want to eat your carbs directly after a meal to help your body use those carbs for muscle recovery. Then, focus on eating protein and fat during your other meals.
In the end, it all boils down to your lifestyle and needs. The point is to feel as satisfied as possible so your hormones and body processes work is a way that promotes fat loss instead of fat storage.