One Key Thing You Shouldn't Do If You're Trying to Shed Pounds for Summer

Summertime calls for longer days, later nights and a jam-packed social calendar. Translation: Late-night snacking after a few glasses of wine on the patio becomes commonplace rather than a once-in-a-while treat. However, if bikinis and beach trips are also part of your summer, you may want to think twice before reaching for that bag of chips before bed. 

As reported on by Shape, a new study conducted by researchers at University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine shows that "compared to eating earlier in the day, prolonged delayed eating can increase weight, insulin and cholesterol levels, and negatively affect fat metabolism and hormonal markers implicated in heart disease, diabetes and other health problems."

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In the study, adults of healthy weight underwent two conditions: one of daytime eating (three meals and two snacks between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.) for eight weeks, and another of delayed eating (three meals and two snacks eating from noon to 11 p.m.) for eight weeks. There was a two-week washout period between conditions to make sure there was no carry over effect. The sleep period was held constant, between 11 p.m. and 9 a.m. Participants had their blood drawn to determine their health standings at the beginning, after the first eating condition, after the two-week washout, and after the second eating condition. 

The findings were recently revealed at SLEEP 2017, the 31st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS). “We know from our sleep loss studies that when you’re sleep deprived, it negatively affects weight and metabolism in part due to late-night eating, but now these early findings, which control for sleep, give a more comprehensive picture of the benefits of eating earlier in the day,” said Namni Goel, PhD, lead author of the study. “Eating later can promote a negative profile of weight, energy and hormone markers—such as higher glucose and insulin, which are implicated in diabetes, and cholesterol and triglycerides, which are linked with cardiovascular problems and other health conditions.” 

The bottom line: When participants ate later (any time up to 11 p.m.) versus earlier (any time up to 7 p.m.) their weight increased and their metabolism slowed. Definitely something to keep in mind if you're looking to shed some pounds for summertime or keep pounds off in order to fit into that new bikini.

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