The study revealed that the body’s natural circadian rhythm promotes fat burning in the morning/waking hours, but that process slows down in the evening before bedtime. For consumers looking to keep weight off, this means that it’s better to eat more calories for breakfast when the body will burn them off, as opposed to late at night when that isn’t as likely.
Managing food throughout the day
To better understand how consumers’ circadian clocks can affect their weight loss, the researchers analyzed how middle-aged and older consumers’ metabolism changed over two 56-hour sessions.
The participants ate lunch and dinner at the same times during both sessions, but the researchers swapped out the time of the third meal. In one of the sessions, the participants ate a typical breakfast at around 8:00AM; in the second session, the third meal was administered around 10:00PM.
The researchers found that the participants burned less fat when they ate closer to bedtime; conversely, more fat was burned when they ate the majority of their calories during active, waking hours.
These findings are important because knowing when the body will burn more fat can help consumers better manage their weight. It can also help consumers optimize mealtimes so they can maintain their weight loss.