Nancy Dell: When you eat affects weight; Foods act as sunscreen


1. If I eat most of my food at dinner, does it really make it harder to lose weight?
Kate, Northampton

The latest research suggests that when you eat may be as important as what you eat when it comes to managing your weight. Eating more of your calories earlier in the day does help you reach and maintain a lower weight.

There are several studies but one of the most impressive was published in the journal Obesity. The researchers had about 100 people follow a 1400 calories eating plan. Half the group ate a big breakfast, 700 calories, and just 200 calories at dinner. The second group did the opposite eating 200 calories at breakfast and 700 calories at dinner.

After a few months, the big breakfast group lost about 17 pounds on average. The big dinner group lost less than half that amount, about 7 pounds on average. The researchers say that our circadian rhythms have a big effect on our weight and disrupting our body clock leads to weight gain.

So try to move more food to the daytime if you want to lose weight. If you are not hungry in the morning, chances are you ate too much at night. Gradually eat less at night, so you wake up and are hungry within 1 hour.

2. Do some foods act as a sunscreen?
Frannie, Internet

Studies at the University of Texas Health, Johns Hopkins and the University of Arizona find some foods do protect your skin from sun damage and can even reduce damage after a sunburn.

These foods include grapes, berries, walnuts, broccoli and green tea. This does not mean you can stop wearing sunscreen but it does mean you can get some protection from what you put inside your body as well as on your body. So these are great foods to pack when you go to the beach.

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