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Amazing benefits of eating early

New research suggests there may be an ideal window of time to eat during the day.

Eating relatively early may be beneficial for weight loss, and keeping meals within a 10-hour period could improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels, according to two small studies published Tuesday in the journal Cell Metabolism.

The first study found that eating on a later schedule made people hungrier over a 24-hour period than when they consumed the same meals earlier in the day. Late eating also led the study participants to burn calories at a slower rate, and their fat tissue seemed to store more calories on a later eating schedule than an early one. Overall, the study suggests that eating later can increase a person's obesity risk.

The second study, done among a group of firefighters, found that consuming meals within a 10-hour window shrunk "bad cholesterol" particles — suggesting a potential reduction in risk factors for heart disease. That eating window also improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels among firefighters with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The two studies add to existing evidence that there may be optimal times to start and stop eating, according to Courtney Peterson, an associate professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who wasn’t involved in either study.

"You have this internal biological clock that makes you better at doing different things at different times of the day. It seems like the best time for your metabolism in most people is the mid- to late morning," Peterson said

Past research has found that circadian rhythms — the body’s internal clock that helps regulate sleeping and waking — can influence people’s appetite, metabolism and blood sugar levels.

Furthermore, the researchers found that late eaters had an increased desire for starchy and salty foods, as well as meat, dairy and vegetables. Scheer said that might be because people crave more energy-dense foods when they're hungrier.

The study also found consistent changes in fat tissue associated with the late-eating regimen, suggesting an increased likelihood of building up new fat cells and a decreased chance of burning fat.


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