A new study published in the International Journal of Obesity shows when people eat could make as important as what they eat. Shazia Khan filed the following report.
Overweight and on the road to becoming obese, Angelica Vigil says she routinely skipped breakfast.
"Before, in the morning, I just used to drink a cup of coffee and then later on, at 12 o'clock or 1 o'clock, I started eating something," Vigil says.
The 42-year-old decided to take control of her health last December. She now meets with Lacey LaBonte, a registered dietitian at the Weight Loss Center at Brooklyn Hospital Center, and is working to change her eating habits.
"You have to eat small portions, about three to four hours," says Vigil.
It is not uncommon for many health experts to say when people eat is as important to weight loss as what people eat, and now a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity further supports this. The 20-week study looked at more than 400 overweight and obese men and women in Spain, divided into two groups.
"One who ate their largest meal of the day before 3 [o'clock], the other group ate their largest meal after 3 [o'clock]. They found that the group who ate later had a slower rate of weight loss and a significantly lower amount of weight loss," says LaBonte.
Yet both groups in the study had similar diets, consumed about the same number of calories and had similar amounts of sleep and physical activity.
The study also found the late eaters typically ate a very small breakfast or skipped it all together.
"While you're sleeping, your metabolism goes into kind of a conservation mode and you want to jumpstart that metabolism back up by eating something in the morning," LaBonte says. "Then you'll have more energy for the rest of the day."
While the study showed interesting results, experts say a number of factors can affect weight loss.
As for Vigil, study or not, she says her newfound diet, complete with portion control and healthier food options, has been life-changing.
"Now I am energized. I walk the steps up and down like no problem like before," Vigil says.