Timing of energy intake, a temporal dietary pattern, may enhance health. Eating a greater amount of energy earlier and a smaller amount of energy later in the day, a behavioral circadian rhythm, may assist with chronoenhancement. Chronoenhancement seeks to enhance entrainment (synchronization) of biological and behavioral circadian rhythms. In humans, research reports that eating a greater amount of energy early and a smaller amount of energy later in the day increases dietary induced thermogenesis, improves cardiometabolic outcomes, and enhances weight loss. However, little human research has examined if this eating pattern enhances regularity of biological circadian rhythm. In a randomized controlled 8-week pilot study, the influence of energy distribution timing on weight loss and regularity of sleep onset and wake times (marker for biological circadian rhythm) was examined. Within an hypocaloric, three-meal prescription, participants (n = 8) were assigned to either: 1) Morning: 50%, 30%, and 20% of kcal at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, respectively; or 2) Evening: 20%, 30%, and 50% of kcal at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, respectively. Percent weight loss and regularity of sleep onset and wake times were significantly (p < 0.05) greater for Morning than Evening. To enhance understanding of the influence of energy distribution timing on health, longer studies conducted in free-living participants, with dietary intake assessed using time-stamped methods, that include measures of the circadian timing system are needed. This small review is based upon a symposium presentation at the Society of the Study of Ingestive Behavior in 2017.
Keywords: Circadian; Distribution; Energy; Pattern; Temporal; Weight loss.
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