The Best Time to Eat Dinner to Lose Weight

Kendra Haire, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian and Noom coach, argues that calories, not meal times, are more important for weight reduction. 

However, weight reduction is difficult, so anything that helps is worth exploring, right? Meal time might affect how quickly you lose weight, says Long Island nutritionist Kimberly Weimann, MS, RDN.

Weimann cites a 2021 British Journal of Nutrition research that found weight reduction was greater for persons who ate dinner earlier than those who ate later. Weimann said researchers believe late meals affect circadian genes, making late eaters more likely to struggle to lose weight.

Cell released another research that supports this in animals. The study discovered that eating late disrupted the circadian rhythm (internal clock) and made weight loss tougher.

Because the body burns more fat when we sleep, registered dietitian Lindsay Allen, RD, recommends eating dinner early to lose weight.

Your body is meant to be in a ketogenic state when you sleep, using fat stores for energy to repair cells. Late eating raises insulin, which disrupts this process since your body must digest rather than repair

What is the best time to eat supper to lose weight? The British Journal of Nutrition study's successful weight reduction participants ate supper between 7 and 7:30 p.m., whereas the unsuccessful group ate between 10:30 and 11 p.m. To follow research results, eat at 7 or 7:30 p.m.

Tips for Eating Dinner Early

Because it gives you more time to nibble, eating supper early might be challenging if you usually eat at 8 or 9 p.m. Wiemann thinks having a healthy meal will minimize late-night munching. 

Tips for Eating Dinner Early

“The plate method helps people balance their meals. This means half your plate is veggies and half is lean meats and whole grains, she explains. “If you're still hungry after the meal, go back for seconds, but focus on the veggies!”

The “plate method” is also Haire's suggestion. Wait 20 minutes before ordering seconds after finishing your meal. She says this will help you determine if you're hungry or merely reaching for seconds. Get more if you're hungry!

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