Should you stop eating after 4 p.m. if you want to lose extra pounds?

Eating during fewer hours of the day isn’t likely to help you lose extra pounds, two recent trials have found.

In the first study, scientists randomly assigned 139 people with obesity to eat only between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and cut calories or to just cut calories. (The men aimed for 1,500 to 1,800—and the women aimed for 1,200 to 1,500—calories a day.) After a year, the 8-to-4 group lost no more weight than the calories-only group.

In a similar study, researchers randomly assigned 81 people with excess weight to eat only during 10 hours of the day (starting within 3 hours of waking) and cut their calories by about a third or to only cut calories by a third. After 39 weeks, the 10-hour group lost no more weight than the calories-only group.

Neither study saw differences between groups in measures like blood sugar, blood cholesterol, or blood pressure.

What to do

Don’t expect eating over fewer hours to lead to more weight loss than cutting calories alone, but if no food after 4 (or 6 or 8) p.m. helps you cut calories, go for it.

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