A new study by the University of Barcelona pointed out that the irregular eating habits on weekends (or “eating jet lag” according to the researchers) may link to the increase of BMI (body mass index, a formula that measure weight and height to determine whether someone’s weight is healthy.)
How the study went
Researchers looked at 1,106 young people aged between 18 and 22 in Spain and Mexico. They wanted to figure out the possible association between the body mass index and the variability in eating timing during weekend.
The researchers collected the changes in eating times (breakfast, lunch and dinner), and analyzed their relationship with the increase of the participants’ BMI.
The result showed that changing the timing of the meals during the weekend is linked to obesity. The highest impact happened when there is a 3.5-hour difference in eating schedules. That’s say, for example, when a person eats his breakfast 3.5 hours later than his normal schedule during the weekdays, the possibility that he gets heavier reaches the peak.
Lack of synchrony between the social and body time
To explain the link between eating jet lag and obesity, the authors believe that individuals undergo a chronodisruption, that is, a lack of synchrony between internal time of the body and social time.
"Our biological clock is like a machine, and is ready to unchain the same physiological and metabolic response at the same time of the day, every day of the week. Fixed eating and sleep schedules help the body to be organized and promote energy homeostasis. Therefore, people with a higher alteration of their schedules have a higher risk of obesity," notes Cambras, one of the authors.
More research is needed to reveal the physiological mechanisms and metabolic alterations behind the eating jet lag and its link to obesity. However, authors highlight the importance of keeping regular eating and sleeping schedules to preserve health and wellbeing.
"Apart from diet and physical exercise, which are two pillars regarding obesity, other factor to be considered is regular eating schedules, since we proved it has an impact on our body weight," says author Izquierdo Pulido.
So, apart from eating healthily and taking regular exercises, remember not to eat your meals too late during weekends!