You might look forward to the weekend as an opportunity to relax and leave the rigid schedule of the weekdays behind. There are brunch foods, like waffles and pancakes, movie popcorn, and little snacks along the way as you go out with friends. Unfortunately, this type of irregular eating and a break with your eating norm has been labeled as “eating jet lag” by a group of researchers at the University of Barcelona. Sounds harmless, until you find out it might be responsible for higher weight and even obesity.
According to a recent study published in nutrients journal, “the timing of food intake has been associated with obesity and adverse metabolic outcomes, independently of the amount or content of food intake and activity level.” Still, the difference between the impact of eating on weekends versus weekdays remained unexplored. The researchers embarked on finding out what effect our schedules might have on our BMI.
1106 subjects, aged 18-25, were used in the cross-sectional study exploring the association between eating jet lag and multiple other factors like eating duration and sleep duration. The scientists then used this data to compare with BMI to determine whether the data points stood independent of the variables. Their results revealed “a positive association between eating jet lag and BMI (p = 0.008), which was independent of the chronotype and social jet lag.”
What It Means
Meal timing plays a role in weight gain and BMI if there is continuous variability between weekday and weekend schedules. The group of researchers suggests that reduction of this variability could be part of the “guidelines for the prevention of obesity among general population.”
Until there’s further research on the impacts, your best bet might be to stick to a steady eating schedule both on weekends and weekdays.