Research has shown that people who eat earlier benefit from better heart health than those who eat later in the night. A new study of 16 overweight patients 

provides evidence that late eating leads to decreased energy expenditure, increased hunger, and changes in fat tissue. These in comination may increase obesity. 

Researchers found that eating four hours later than normal makes a significant difference to hunger levels, the way we burn calories after eating, and how we store fat. These results showed that eating later had profound effects on appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin, which influence our drive to eat.


Levels of the hormone leptin, which signals satiety, were decreased across the 24 hours in the late eating condition compared to the early eating conditions. When participants ate later, they also burned calories at a slower rate. 

Moreover, the study found that late eating was associated with changes in the expression of genes related to adipose tissue (body fat) function, suggesting that eating later in the day may have negative effects on fat metabolism. The researchers suggest that this could be due to disruptions in the circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock that regulates various physiological processes, which included metabolism.

The study found that late eating caused a shift in the timing of the expression of certain genes involved in lipid (fat) metabolism, which could contribute to the accumulation of fat in adipose tissue.

The study also found that late eating negativevely effected glucose metabolism, which could increase the risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Eating late caused a decrease in insulin sensitivity, meaning that the body’s cells were less responsive to the hormone insulin, this indicates insulin resistance. Insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels, insulin resistance leads to elevated blood glucose levels and elevated insulin levels which can eventually lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.

It is interesting that the study found that the negative effects of late eating on energy expenditure, appetite regulation, fat metabolism, and glucose metabolism were not dependent on the total number of calories consumed.

So even if the participants ate the same number of calories whether they ate early or late; they still experienced negative metabolic effects.

This would indicate that the timing of meals may be just as important as the quantity and quality of food in regards to metabolic health.

I chatted to Tod Johnston on 6PR overnights on this topic, you can listen here:



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