Trying to lose weight? These are the hours when it is recommended to eat

A pair of studies have pointed to eating earlier and less frequently as ways to keep your weight down and healthy.

SUNRISE AT Kilimanjaro – the final all-night climb from Kobo Hut to Uhuru Peak. (photo credit: Courtesy)
SUNRISE AT Kilimanjaro – the final all-night climb from Kobo Hut to Uhuru Peak.
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Two new studies suggest that there may be an ideal time period for eating during the day, according to an NBC report. The first study found that eating earlier in the day can be beneficial to weight loss. A similar study also found that eating meals within a 10-hour period can improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 

The first study found that eating meals later in the day caused participants to be hungrier over 24 hours – compared to participants who ate their meals earlier in the day. The study also found that eating later in the day caused participants to burn calories at a slower rate and their fat tissue seemed to store more calories. Therefore, eating at a later hour can exacerbate the risks of obesity and diseases resulting from weight gain. 

The second study, which was conducted on a group of firefighters, revealed that consuming meals within a 10-hour timeframe – known as intermittent fasting – reduces "bad cholesterol,” which indicates a possible decrease in the risk factors for heart disease. Intermittent fasting also improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels among the study’s cohorts, who suffered from preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Breakfast was ‘modest,’ with only several types of cheeses, fresh salad, eggs, tuna, cut vegetables, pickled cucumbers and olives, yogurt, cereal, breads and juices. (credit: GILAD HAR SHELEG)Breakfast was ‘modest,’ with only several types of cheeses, fresh salad, eggs, tuna, cut vegetables, pickled cucumbers and olives, yogurt, cereal, breads and juices. (credit: GILAD HAR SHELEG)

"A good range"

Sachidananda Panda, a co-author of the firefighter study and a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, said a 10-hour period seemed like a "good range" because it is harder to stretch the time frame of meals even tighter than 10 hours.

He suggested it was better to restrict the time one eats meals to a period of “six to eight hours… though people may not be able to stick to that for a long time,” he conceded.