A study of 20 people asked them to eat their evening meal either at 6pm or much later, at 10pm. After eating late, people burned around 10 percent less fat, the researchers found. PICTURE: Unsplash
A study of 20 people asked them to eat their evening meal either at 6pm or much later, at 10pm. After eating late, people burned around 10 percent less fat, the researchers found. PICTURE: Unsplash

Say what? Late eaters really do burn less fat

By VICTORIA ALLEN Time of article published Jun 12, 2020

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London - It is familiar advice that eating late at night can cause us to pile on the pounds.

Now there is evidence that a late dinner really may reduce the amount of fat someone burns off overnight.

A study of 20 people asked them to eat their evening meal either at 6pm or much later, at 10pm. After eating late, people burned around 10 percent less fat, the researchers found.

They also had higher blood sugar - and appeared to have higher stress levels mid-evening, when they had not yet eaten. The effects of eating dinner late at night appeared worst for "larks", who tend to rise early and go to bed early.

Dr Jonathan Jun, co-author of the study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US, said: "This shows that some people might be more vulnerable to late eating than others. If the metabolic effects we observed with a single meal keep occurring chronically, then late eating could lead to consequences such as diabetes or obesity."

When we sleep, our metabolism slows right down and we may lose some ability to burn off fat.

That is why some experts believe eating earlier is best, to provide enough waking hours for the body to use fat and convert some of it into energy.

The participants of the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, stayed overnight at a lab on two occasions up to a month apart.

The blood sugar level of those who ate the later dinners was almost a fifth higher an hour after dinner.

The study’s lead author, Dr Chenjuan Gu, from Johns Hopkins University, said: "The effects we have seen in healthy volunteers might be more pronounced in people with obesity or diabetes, who already have a compromised metabolism."

Daily Mail

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