This Is What Time You Should Eat Dinner, According to Science

While we typically consider dinnertime to fall somewhere around 7 p.m., it turns out we may want to be sitting down for our final meal of the day a whopping five hours earlier.

A new study suggests that having a significantly earlier dinner, or even skipping the meal altogether, could increase the amount of fat we burn overnight. Furthermore, this practice may even help to curb hunger swings, combating overeating habits. New York Magazine's Science of Us highlighted these findings to examine whether we should be adjusting our eating schedules accordingly.

Researchers from Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center conducted the first human test of "early time-restricted feeding" on 11 individuals with excess weight. For four days, the study participants, both male and female, ate from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On another four days, they ate as most of us usually do—from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.—consuming the same daily calorie amounts as the time-restricted day.

The study found that more fat was burned and appetite levels were more even when individuals were restricted to eating between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. followed by an 18-hour fast. These findings give more insight into how our meal times might impact our metabolism, but more research is necessary before considering this an effective strategy in managing weight.

Surprised by these findings? Do you strategize meal times to boost your metabolism and deter hunger swings? Head to the comments to share your thoughts about healthy eating.