Friday, February 9, 2018

Evening Eaters Beware

We've heard the weight loss advice before: eat nothing but water after 6pm. Previous studies have found that if you restrict the time a person eats to just the daytime hours, it really does help reduce weight. New research demonstrates that melatonin, a hormone involved in the cycles of sleeping and waking, is an important factor in the reasons why.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a study by nine sleep-medicine researchers working with college-aged participants. They found that the closer you eat to your melatonin onset, the more likely you are to have a higher percent body fat. The study showed that it did not matter what a person ate, how much they ate or how much they exercised when it came to predicting their body composition. All that mattered was the timing of the calories relative to melatonin onset. 

Determining the precise timing of melatonin onset can only be done in a laboratory setting but scientists think the the sleep hormone typically begins to rise about 2 hours prior to habitual bedtime. The best rule of thumb is to limit the number of calories you eat during that 2 hours, as they may "count" for more than just a calorie. 

Shifting eating time should take little effort to implement, and could pay off in very real, measurable success. If you normally head to bed at 10pm, for example, you should avoid eating anything after 8pm. Referencing my blog on controlling blood sugar, make sure to do some light movement after dinner and before winding down for the evening. Some clients have found it helpful to brush their teeth immediately after dinner to prevent indiscriminate snacking after their evening meal. Avoid eating anything in front of the TV.

This easy, evidence-based tip can help you "eat yourself lean" in 2018.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

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