Does It Matter What Time You Eat To Lose Weight?

Good morning! We’ve made it to Friday. I am super excited for this weekend as I will be backing up my car shortly and heading to Charlotte for a bachelorette weekend for my college friend, Jennie. She also happens to be my “big sis” in our sorority.

bachelorette party

I can’t wait! Of course I can’t wait until the end of the month when she walks down the aisle!

While I am not sure of our plans completely, I do know that my normal schedule will be thrown out. On the weekends Dan and I start cooking at around 5 pm (is this too early?) so I am pretty positive my gf’s won’t want to head out to dinner for the early bird special.

That’s fine with me, I will just bring some goodies along to help if my stomach starts to beg for dinner.

vegan bars

I still have a few vegan bars left that will backed away, and a bottle of champagne. Oh wait… I guess I will have to share that one? 

But enough about my stomach… let’s talk more about food because apparently timing really does count.

You’ve heard the whole “Don’t eat after 9” speech before I’m sure. People go back and forth on this all the time.

Some say it doesn’t matter what time you eat, it’s all about calories.

Others say that your metabolism slows at night and therefore you aren’t able to burn off everything from the late night feedings causing your body to store excess fat.

So what’s the answer?

I wish I could agree with the first group and say, who cares what time you eat, 1500 calories is 1500 calories.

But… and this is a big BUT, new research reveals otherwise.

This is fresh off the press my friends, just published on the 29th in International Journal Of Obesity.

The Timing Of When You Eat Matters

Researchers from Bringham and Women’s Hospital, and Tufts University have found that when trying to lose weight, it’s not all about what you eat. When you eat seems to matter, a lot.

Testing Eating Time And Weight Loss Success

The researchers studied 420 overweight participants living in Spain and placed them on a 20-week weight loss plan. The participants were then divided into one of two groups: early eaters and late eaters.

Because lunch is the larger meal for Mediterranean dwellers, this was the meal that had it’s time swapped. 40% of total calories were eaten during this lunch (unlike Westerners who eat more at dinner).

Early eaters enjoyed their meals any time before 3 pm, while late-eaters would get a chance to sit down and eat until any time after 3 pm.

The meal plans were the same.vegan dinner

What Were The Results? 

The late-eaters lost significantly LESS weight.

The late-eaters had a slower rate of weight-loss.

The late-eaters had a lowered estimated insulin sensitivity (AKA = risk of diabetes).

Researchers also found a few other interesting tid-bits. 

Snacks, and the smaller meals did not have an affect on weight loss, it all came down that big meal.

And in fact, the late eaters were less likely to eat  breakfast and if they did they had fewer calories than the early eaters.

What Makes Me Raise An Eyebrow

I think that this is a great study and that they touched base on a lot of factors. In fact, it was mentioned that other factors such as total calories eaten, exercise and hormones, and sleep were also noted to keep it all focused on the meal timing variable.

What About Us: Is Our American Schedule Making Us Fat No Matter What? 

Since 90% of us eat our “big” meal for dinner, what does this mean? After all, doesn’t it mean we are a late eater not matter if we eat at 5:30 pm or 10:00pm? It’s all after 3, right?

I think that to get the most from this, that a study should be done on our American diets. I would love to know if we made a shift to making a 12 pm lunch a “dinner” and a 7 pm dinner just a lunch, would we see better results when trying to slip on our jeans?

Just a thought.

A Few Questions: 

Did the researchers design a specific meal plan? 

What type of exercise were individuals doing? 

Could the weight issues be caused not from the late meal, but from the affects it has on the rest of the meals: i.e. Breakfast? 

After all, we know breakfast is the most important of dish of the day and that people who skip it are more likely to gain weight.

What are your thoughts?
Are you a late eater or early eater? 

During the week because I don’t get home until 9pm, we don’t sit down to dinner until close to 10. However, on weekends we are like an elderly couple and eat around 6pm.

Read the entire article here:

Now excuse me, as I pack my car up for a girls weekend of dancing, shopping and celebrating! Recap to come on Sunday. Have a great weekend.


  • Have SO much fun!! What sorority were you in? I was a DZ. I have to unfortunately disagree with this notion! I think it depends on you activity level and at what time of day. When I teach from 6-7…its important that I EAT after to refuel and keep my metabolism rocking along.

    • I was a Chi O. We had DZ at Winthrop. I agree with you!

  • Raphael Sanchez

    Thanks for this article. I’m not surprised with the results of the study. My only comment is this 9pm “rule.” The article was based in Spain, and Spaniards have dinner usually way past 9. I almost starved every day when I visited. Also, while this article was a scientific study of a select group of people with one group receiving a light dinner, I never found Spanish dinners to be light yet Spaniards are generally thin.

    • I agree Raphael! I was thinking the same thing in regards to when they eat in Europe. All it come down to is overall lifestyle I suppose!

  • Cassie

    Have a great weekend. What is in you first picture of food? It looks delicious.

    • that is a curry. It has chickpeas, red bellpeppers, onions, green beans simmered in red curry sauce and served over rice noodles.

  • I agree, definitely think it matters. I think if you work out in the evening, of course you want to recover with food after the workout, but I definitely feel better (not really trying to lose weight here) when I eat a lunch and smaller dinner. Plus, I’ve never been able to sleep well when I ate a large dinner.

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