Here’s Why the Time You Eat Dinner Actually Matters

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Early dinners can boost fat burn.Photo: Xsandra/Getty Images

Eating dinner before 2 p.m. may sound like a late lunch to most of us. But according to a new study, having an early dinner — or just skipping the meal altogether — may increase the amount of fat a person burns at night, and also help curb hunger swings.

Scientists from Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center recently conducted the first human test of so-called “early time-restricted feeding” on 11 men and women with excess weight. The study participants ate from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for four days, and then from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for another four days. The participants ate the same daily calorie amounts during both time periods.

“We found that eating between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. followed by an 18-hour daily fast burned more fat and kept appetite levels more even throughout the day, in comparison to eating between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., which is average for Americans,” study author Dr. Courtney Peterson said in a statement.

The findings suggest that the timing of our meals actually has an impact on our metabolism. However, more research is needed to get the full picture of whether this method could actually help prevent obesity. So don’t rush to change your dietary habits over this small study right now — especially if it’s going to make you hangry.

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