Eating Carbs Only at Night May Aid in Belly Fat Loss
Abdominal obesity is a known risk factor for diabetes and coronary heart disease. A recent study suggests that consuming a low-calorie diet with the majority of the carbohydrates consumed at the end of the day may change the pattern of satiety and hunger hormones, and potentially result in the loss of abdominal fat.
Participants in the study included 78 Tel Aviv police officers between the ages of 25 and 55, with an average BMI of 30. People with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and those who had followed a diet in the previous year or had been pregnant were excluded from the study. 63 of the original participants completed the study.
The researchers recorded height, weight, abdominal circumference, and body fat percentage for all of the participants. They were then assigned to either a low-calorie diet consisting of 20% protein, 30-35% fat, 45-50% carbohydrates for a total of 1300-1500 calories with carbohydrates only at dinner or the same low-calorie diet with carbohydrates consumed throughout the day.
Fasting blood samples were taken at eight in the morning and then at four-hour intervals throughout the day. On the first day of the study, the participants also filled out hunger/satiety questionnaires every four hours. This process was repeated at the one week, three month, and six month marks.
At the conclusion of the study, both groups had significant losses in weight, reductions in abdominal circumference, BMI, and percentage body fat, although the experimental group had significantly higher reductions. Additionally, after 180 days, the experimental diet group had hunger-satiety scores that were 13.7% higher than they had been at baseline, while the control group reported 5.9% lower score.
The researchers also noted changes in the daily patterns of leptin (the hormone related to satiety), ghrelin (the hormone related to hunger), and adiponectin (the hormonal link between abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome), which they believed contributed to enhanced daytime satiety.
Researchers from a group of The Hebrew Institution of Israel conducted the study. It was published in the 2014 issue of the Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Abdominal Obesity journal.
Abdominal fat is the hardest to lose because it is packed around your organs. Previous studies suggest that probiotics, calcium and vitamin D, and extract from lychee fruit may help people looking to lower their percentage of abdominal or visceral fat.