When it comes to boosting your metabolism, a high-fat diet may trump a low-fat diet—but only if you time your meals correctly.
A new study found that individuals who loaded up on fatty foods at scheduled times throughout the day improved their metabolic function. The catch? The fat needs to come from healthy sources like salmon rather than the bad stuff like doughnuts and extra-cheesy pizzas, and it must be eaten at the same time and for the same length of time every day.
Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem divided mice into four groups (including scheduled and unscheduled high-fat diets as well as scheduled and unscheduled low-fat diets) for 18 weeks. Surprisingly, with equal calorie intake, the scheduled high-fat dieters ended up with a lower body weight than the unscheduled and scheduled low-fat group (the same did not hold true for the unscheduled high-fat group). Why is a scheduled high-fat diet most beneficial for burning more calories?
- Metabolism gets rewired so that fat is used for energy when there is no food available (think: the 3 o’ clock slump)
- Timing of food consumption is an important tool for weight management (eating fat in the morning on an empty stomach as compared to eating something fatty following a big meal)
Skip the “low-fat” foods and schedule some healthy fats into your daily meals and snacks. At breakfast, try adding peanut, almond, or sunflower butter to your toast because nut butters are great sources of unsaturated fats. At lunch, add tuna to your sandwich in place of fat-free chicken breast for some omega-3 fatty acids. To refuel during an afternoon slump, replace low-fat snacks like granola bars with mixed nuts. At dinner, splash olive oil on your side salad instead of low-fat dressing.