When you eat your meals consistently, your body becomes accustomed to processing food at certain times of day. Deviating from that schedule shocks your system in ways that can throw off blood sugar regulation, reduce your calorie burn, and impact digestion, says study author María Fernanda Zerón Rugerio, a researcher and doctoral student at the University of Barcelona in Spain. Those effects can make you gain weight.
There’s a grace period of about one hour in either direction, Rugerio says, but regularly shifting your meals any more than that will likely increase your BMI.
The bottom line:
“Maintaining regularity in all meals is the best advice,” Rugerio says. If you prioritize only one, make it breakfast; it plays the biggest role in synchronizing your body’s clock, critical for weight control.
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