When You Eat Might Be More Important Than What You Eat - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

When You Eat Might Be More Important Than What You Eat

Posted: Updated:

Millions of Americans tuned in to the super bowl yesterday ... And the standard game day cuisine isn't exactly healthy.

All those chicken wings, chips and beer might have you feeling a little guilty today.

But new research from Harvard University shows that if you're trying to fit in your skinny jeans, when you eat may be just as important as what you eat.

It's the first large "scale" study, say researchers, that finds when you eat, matters.

People who eat their big meal of the day early, lose more than those who eat late .

"It makes sense... If you eat earlier the more calories you are burning by running around the rest of the day"

The study looked at Europeans whose big meal of the day is lunch.

Those who dined before 3 pm not only dropped significantly more weight, they were less likely to develop diabetes.

The timing of other meals and the amount eaten didn't matter.

"When it comes to weight control it's a calorie game."

Obesity expert Gary Foster says don't swap your bathroom scale for a watch just yet.

He says if you eat too much and move too little, you'll gain weight no matter what.

A calorie equals the same at 6 pm as it does at midnight

"If you change the time of day in which you eat your calories as long as your calories are constant it would make no difference."

In the study the late eaters skipped breakfast, which Dr. Foster says is likely why they packed on the pounds.

"It's not that there is something magical about breakfast, it's just that it sets you up to be more hungry when you do get to that lunch meal. It's not about a timing effect, it's that if you food deprive yourself for 5, 6, 7 hours lets say eat lunch at 3 instead of 1 you're gonna be a lot hungrier at 3 o'clock, so much more likely to overeat."