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Weight Loss Significantly Enhanced by When you Eat

To breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper, has long been claimed as the secret of good health. Now scientists have given this ancient mantra a subtle twist.

Woman standing on weighing scales

Scientists now say that the best way to get into shape is to eschew all meals after 3pm.

Intermittent fasting has grown in popularity in recent years - emulating the habits of our hunter-gather ancestors, who did not have access to food 24/7. However, researchers who reviewed 250 studies on diets and lifestyles have now concluded that fasting for around 15 hours a day is optimal for health and weight loss.

The research found that dieters who ate early were most likely to achieve significant weight loss. One study of women on calorie-controlled diets for 12 weeks found that those who ate most of their meals early in the day lost 11 lbs (5kg / 0.8 stone) more than those eating the same calories spread over the day.

Even more encouragingly, scientists also found that feasting early was associated with a host of additional health benefits - reducing blood pressure, inflammation and risk factors for diabetes.

The body of research suggested that shifting dinner forward by a couple of hours was not sufficient to make a difference.

Dr Peterson, associate professor and co-director of the Sleep and Circadian Research Core at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, USA, said: “Some of the recent studies where they’ve tested having people eat in a 12-hour window and fast for 12 hours a day haven’t found any additional benefits.”

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: “The mantra ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’ couldn't be better to describe this research.” He said such changes offered a “painless” way to lose weight.

The findings were presented at the European Congress on Obesity in the Netherlands.



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