A study in the International Journal of Obesity that tracked 420 obese people during a 20-week weight loss program who followed a Mediterranean diet.
Those who ate their main meal early (before 3 PM) lost almost five more pounds than those who had their main meal later (after 3 PM) even though both groups consumed the same number of calories and exercised the same amount.
Researchers have a theory that eating later can influence circadian rhythms that affect metabolism.
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According to research from the University of Pennsylvania, the latest you should eat dinner is 7 P.M. When people went past this cutoff time (eating all meals and snacks between noon and 11 P. M. instead of 8 A. M. to 7 P.M.) they gained weight and had higher cholesterol levels. When people ate earlier in the day, their levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin peaked sooner and those of the satiety hormone leptin rose later, so they felt fuller at night and less likely to splurge.