The time you're eating affects how much weight you can lose, here's why

Shifting dinner forward by a few hours can make your weight loss program more effective

Woman eating dinner in front of a laptop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you've started on a weight loss program, you want it to be as efficient as possible. But many short-term solutions harm our bodies or lead to unsustainable losses.

That's why the best exercises for weight loss are so popular, as these workout staples help burn fat but also improve your overall health, build muscle, and can be done from anywhere. 

But there are also plenty of changes you can make to your diet, like eating healthily or cooking meals from scratch. Interestingly, a new study has found that changing when you eat could also play a key role. 

The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, enrolled over 3,000 people in a weight loss program. The team discovered that those who ate their meals later dropped less weight across the study period. 

But these late-eaters also had higher levels of triglycerides, a form of fat, and increased insulin resistance. Importantly, this group didn't eat different foods or more of them; they only ate at a different time. 

By the end of the study, late eaters lost 80g less per week than the other participants. The authors also demonstrated that eating one hour later resulted in 49g less weight loss per week. 

Man preparing a healthy dinner

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As we all have different schedules, the team split the participants into early eaters and late eaters based on the average mid-point between breakfast and dinner, which was 14:54. If a person's midpoint was beyond this time, they were classed as a late-eater. 

We don't have much flexibility on when to eat breakfast, as it's primarily dictated by our work schedule. But, if you're after a way to make your weight loss program more effective, you can shift dinner time a few hours earlier. 

One of the biggest challenges is setting up a regular routine in the first place, but it has enormous benefits. Alongside changing when you eat, sticking to a consistent exercise schedule can help you achieve your weight loss goals too. 

Over the past few years, most of us have worked out at home, especially during pandemic-related lockdowns. Whether you've returned to the gym or prefer at-home exercise, it's worth investing in the best exercise machines for weight loss

This cardio-focused equipment is an excellent addition to any home gym setup. The list includes staples like a treadmill, exercise bike, and a water rowing machine to raise your heart rate and start torching fat and dropping pounds. 

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.