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Meal Timing Helps Lose Belly Fat

Meal Timing Helps Lose Belly Fat

Meal timing is crucial to losing weight. Everybody has biological clocks that regulate their circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms1 are bodily processes that follow a 24-hour cycle such as digestion, sleep cycle, and eating habits.

 

Meal timing influences your circadian rhythm. Late-night eating disrupts normal hormone regulation, increasing ghrelin levels, stimulating hunger, and increasing your tendency to eat high-calorie foods. It also affects how your body breaks down food and converts it to energy.  This disruption of hormone regulation and your normal circadian rhythm increase your risk of weight gain and obesity.

 

According to Dr. Naheed Ali on Britain’s GB News2, starting one’s day at 6 am and concluding activity by 10 pm aligns with the body’s natural circadian rhythms. He further explained that employing this approach in meal timing, particularly breakfast and dinner, can boost the body’s ability to burn belly fat.

 

 

Obesity and Meal Timing

Approximately 42% of adults in the United States between 2017 and 2020 had obesity.3 According to a 2022 study, general obesity and abdominal obesity account for about 35.48% and 53.13% of the US population respectively.4

 

Fat is of two types- subcutaneous and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is the visible belly fat. You can also touch and feel it. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is found deep in your abdomen. It is a dangerous type of fat because it increases your risk of metabolic syndrome, stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.5

Meal timing can aid weight loss and reduce visceral fat.6 Dr. Ali recommends eating breakfast within an hour of waking up, around 7 am to speed up metabolism.

 

Metabolism is the process of converting food into energy. You should, however, eat dinner at least two to three hours before bedtime, around 7 pm. This gives the body ample time to digest the meal before the metabolic rate slows down during sleep.

 

 

The Science Behind Meal Scheduling and Metabolic Benefits

A recent study found that the body burns the fewest calories late in the night and the most calories in the afternoon and evening.

 

Additionally, a 2019 study7 recommends eating two to three meals a day, especially breakfast. It also suggests making the last meal of the day between 3 and 4 pm, avoiding late-night snacking, and fasting for 12 to 16 hours.

 

These eating habits and schedules help improve circadian rhythm and reduce hunger, cholesterol, and inflammation. Unfortunately, eating dinner early in the day may be unfamiliar to many people as it is different from the traditional eating patterns in many parts of the world.

 

Researchers advised people used to the traditional eating pattern to consume most of your calories earlier in the day or try intermittent fasting.

 

Belly fat can also cause insulin resistance.8

 

With sedentary lifestyle, belly fat can result in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Ali also says eating time recommendations supports insulin sensitivity and helps manage hunger hormones throughout the day, thereby aiding in the reduction of belly fat.

 

 

Conclusion

Abdominal obesity has been linked to several chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. One of the best ways to lose weight is meal timing. According to experts and research, having an early breakfast and a last meal two to three hours before bedtime can aid weight loss and burn belly fat.

 

FAQ

  • How does meal timing influence weight loss?
    • Meal timing plays a crucial role in regulating our body’s circadian rhythms, which control bodily processes like digestion and metabolism. Timing your meals can help in maintaining hormonal balance, reducing hunger for high-calorie foods, and improving your body’s ability to convert food into energy efficiently.
  • What is the best time to eat breakfast and dinner for optimal fat burn?
    • Experts, including Dr. Naheed Ali, recommend having breakfast within an hour of waking up, ideally around 7 am, to kickstart your metabolism. Dinner should be eaten at least two to three hours before bedtime, around 7 pm, to ensure the body has sufficient time to digest the meal before the metabolic rate slows down during sleep.
  • Can late-night eating affect weight loss?
    • Yes, eating late at night can disrupt your circadian rhythm and normal hormone regulation, increasing levels of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and making you more likely to consume high-calorie foods. This disruption can increase the risk of weight gain and obesity.
  • How does meal timing affect belly fat specifically?
    • Meal timing can significantly impact the reduction of visceral fat, the dangerous type of fat located deep in your abdomen associated with metabolic syndrome, stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Eating early in the day aligns with your natural circadian rhythms, enhancing your body’s ability to burn belly fat more effectively.

References

  1. Circadian Rhythms. National Institute of General Medical Sciences
  2. Doctor reveals when to eat breakfast and dinner to burn belly fat. Nutrition. New York Post.
  3. Adult Obesity Facts. Overweight & Obesity, CDC
  4. Sun JY, Huang WJ, Hua Y, Qu Q, Cheng C, Liu HL, Kong XQ, Ma YX, Sun W. Trends in general and abdominal obesity in US adults: Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-2018). Front Public Health. 2022 Oct 6;10:925293. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.925293. PMID: 36276394; PMCID: PMC9582849.
  5. Cesaro A, De Michele G, Fimiani F, Acerbo V, Scherillo G, Signore G, Rotolo FP, Scialla F, Raucci G, Panico D, Gragnano F, Moscarella E, Scudiero O, Mennitti C, Calabrò P. Visceral adipose tissue and residual cardiovascular risk: a pathological link and new therapeutic options. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2023 Jul 27;10:1187735. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2023.1187735. PMID: 37576108; PMCID: PMC10421666.
  6. Kim JY. Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. J Obes Metab Syndr. 2021 Mar 30;30(1):20-31. doi: 10.7570/jomes20065. PMID: 33107442; PMCID: PMC8017325.
  7. Paoli A, Tinsley G, Bianco A, Moro T. The Influence of Meal Frequency and Timing on Health in Humans: The Role of Fasting. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 28;11(4):719. doi: 10.3390/nu11040719. PMID: 30925707; PMCID: PMC6520689.
  8. Hardy OT, Czech MP, Corvera S. What causes the insulin resistance underlying obesity? Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2012 Apr;19(2):81-7. doi: 10.1097/MED.0b013e3283514e13. PMID: 22327367; PMCID: PMC4038351.
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