The Latest in Fitness, Nutrition, Recipe and Lifestyle News

« Home |

Eating at This Time Is Associated With Significant Weight Gain, Says New Study

Posted by Triple Naturals I On May 14, 2024
Share to

The study sought to understand and troubleshoot "circadian misalignment," and even found the bedtime length that promoted the greatest weight loss.

Intermittent fasting has taken the health world by storm, promising not just weight loss but also improved blood sugar control. While many still stick to the traditional three meals a day, emerging research underscores the significance of meal timing alongside meal content: When you eat could matter just as much as what you eat. In a society where every minute counts, sometimes the best time to eat is just what works for your schedule—but if you’re trying to lose weight, a new study suggests there’s one particular time of day that could be sabotaging your goals.

BREAKING: Melt Away Up To 52 lbs in 30 Days

Remember in our young adult days when wise elders used to tell us it wasn’t the late-night partying that packs on pounds; instead, it was the late-night snacking afterward? New research seems to back this up. A pre-print of a study that will be published in the June 2024 issue of The Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging by nutrition experts at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea aimed to see how meal timing and sleep could affect weight gain over time. Eating and sleeping, the researchers have theorized, are two things humans control to a degree that affect the circadian rhythm. While sufficient rest has been shown to reset the body, repair cells, and promote hormone and metabolism balance, the researchers wondered if the opposite would be true if individuals were eating at the exact time they should be sleeping.

“Modern societal factors such as extended work hours, night shift work, and the pervasive use of electronic devices have facilitated late-night eating and sleep deprivation, thereby exacerbating circadian misalignment and its associated health risks,” the researchers said. Circadian misalignment “occurs when the body’s natural internal clock is disrupted, often due to habits like waking up and eating late at night,” they explained.


To explore, they gathered intel from a large Korean study and included 9,474 adults, with an average age of 54 years. The study included detailed statistics on meal frequency and timing and the proportion of calories eaten at each meal. It also tracked sleep duration and compared that to weight gain.

The follow-up was about three and a half years later, during which a little under 10% of participants developed obesity. The results had some very bad news for late-night snackers. Those who ate after 9 p.m. experienced a 20% higher rate of becoming obese, especially if they consumed a large portion of their calories for the day. Late-night snacking affected men more, resulting in a 34% increase in the likelihood of becoming obese.

Women, on the other hand, were more likely to accumulate belly fat from late-night snacking. Women also had the largest increase in obesity when they slept less than six hours.

Sleeping eight hours or more for both sexes was associated with a lower obesity rate.

Interestingly, both men and women ate on average just over four times per day, so the number of snacking or meal episodes didn’t seem to mean an excessive intake of calories. However, increased meal frequency did increase the likelihood of belly fat accumulation.

The researchers theorized that erratic eating and sleeping habits affect hormone levels that can lead to obesity. They called circadian misalignment one possible explanation behind these effects: “Our findings underscore the importance of addressing nighttime eating habits and sleep duration in obesity prevention.”

TRENDING: Shed 42 lbs In 30 Days With This Simple Night-time Pill

If snacking late at night prevents sleep or is because of it, there are ways to break the habit. Improve your sleep by putting down the phone, getting blackout shades, and cooling your room to a comfortable temperature. And if you must have a bite to eat before bed or in the middle of the night, make it a healthy snack to help you fall asleep. Nuts, low-fat pretzels, and hummus are good ideas for a quick nosh that won’t disrupt your blood sugar too much. Alternatively, try sipping on some chamomile tea or try tart cherry juice to wind down before bed.

Another idea is to be sure to eat regularly throughout the day. In the study, men who ate a larger lunch were less likely to become obese than those who ate the least for lunch. 

Share to



Like Us on Facebook?