Eating at the wrong time of day affects body weight

We all know that the key to weight management and health is eating the right kinds and amounts of foods, and exercising regularly.

Results from a recently published study however, show that the time at which we consume our meals is also very important to gaining or losing weight.

In the  study, five groups of mice were placed under varying diets and conditions. Only the group that ate during their normal feeding and active cycle lost weight despite consuming the same calories as another group fed during their resting periods in daylight.

Translating these results to human behaviour, it indicates that dieting will be most effective if food is consumed during hours when we are awake and active. Eating before going to bed should hence be avoided.

For the experiment, an automated feeder system was developed, which enabled long-term control and measurement of food access. Calorie restricted mice were seen to rapidly eat within a 2 hour period, despite having food at their disposal for 24 hours each day.

Healthy food

Source: National Cancer Institute

During the study, scientists also documented that mice on a reduced calorie intake were unexpectedly active -increasing wheel-running activity- during the day, which is when they usually rest, as they are nocturnal.

(See also: Anti-Oxidant Rich Elderberry Can Help with Weight Loss)

The study, which was carried out at the UT Southwestern Medical Center and published in the journal Cell Metabolism, revealed new relationships between feeding, metabolism and behaviour.

Scientists have known that reduced calorie intake leads to longer lifespan. This  study demonstrates that the time of food intake not only affects weight gain, but also affects the circadian rhythm. This may be one way through which dietary habits influence lifespan.

See: Mice under Caloric Restriction Self-Impose a Temporal Restriction of Food Intake as Revealed by an Automated Feeder System
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