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Metabolism: Are later meals more likely to lead to obesity?


Late food does not make you fat: it depends on the "what" and "how much"

Again and again one hears the following advice: "Do not eat after 6 p.m., then you can also lose weight!". Is that really true or is it a diet myth. King’s College in London wanted to know more and conducted a study with 1,620 children aged 4 to 18 years. Surprisingly, they found that children and teenagers who eat late in the evening are not at increased risk of becoming overweight.

Scientific study refutes acceptance

From 2008 to 2012, the scientists recorded various data on boys and girls. The body mass index (BMI) was calculated on the basis of body weight and height, age and gender in order to be able to estimate the weight. The young subjects or their parents completed an annual nutritional protocol for four consecutive days, based on which the daily energy and nutrient intake and the usual time for dinner (before or after 8 p.m.) were determined.

Earlier studies suggested that the time of food intake affects the internal clock and thus also metabolic processes. That would also be important for weight regulation. However, in the current study, children and teenagers who ate between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. had no higher risk of being overweight than peers who ate before 8 p.m. Energy consumption did not change with the time of the meal, the scientists write in the British Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

There were some differences in food quality, but these were not significant. Boys (4-10 years) had a little more protein throughout the day with a late dinner, while girls (11-18 years) ingested less carbohydrates.

"However, only a limited number of children ate after 8 p.m., which may have influenced the results," says the author Dr. To consider Gerda Pot.

Possible factors influencing weight such as omitting breakfast, physical activity and the length of sleep have not yet been taken into account.

What is more important is what we eat

"Much more important than the timing of meals is the amount of energy consumed throughout the day," explains nutritionist Harald Seitz from the information service. This applies to children and adults alike. Anyone who snacks a lot easily loses the overview, and this can be reflected on the scales.

With firmly planned meals, it is easier to choose the right foods and appropriate portion sizes. Of course, this has to be tailored to the everyday life of the family, says Seitz. In addition to a balanced diet, children need plenty of exercise and enough sleep to be fit and to maintain a healthy body weight. Heike Kreutz, aid

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