S u m m a r y :
Eating at the wrong time influences your body weight, suggests a new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism. And so, if you want to lose weight, make sure your meals are scheduled at the right time for you!
Watch the Time When Eating!
If you want to watch your weight, you’d better watch the time at which you’re eating! According to science, just eating right is not enough—you should also be eating at the right time because doing so at the ‘wrong time’ can keep you away from your weight goal. As if losing weight is not tricky enough already, they add yet another rule! The new research, conducted by a team from UT Southwestern Medical Center, is based on a modern, high-precision feeding system to which lab mice were subjected. The system was developed using automated feeding tools and technologically advanced sensors.
The findings show that the time at which one eats is more relevant to weight management than the amount of calories consumed.
Mice Eating At Normal Hours Lose Weight
The mice were divided into 5 groups. Those from the plan whereby they would consume diets of lower calories, feeding only during their normal eating hours (active cycle), were the only group to have lost weight. On the other hand, another group of mice consuming the same quantity of calories as the former group, but at another time slot (during their daytime rest, which is the wrong time for mice, because they are nocturnal animals) did not lose weight.
Extrapolating these results to humans, study author Joseph S. Takahashi explains that dieting would only be fruitful if the calories were consumed during the day, when people are normally awake and active. The findings are also interpreted to mean that eating at the wrong time (like, at night) would not help one to lose weight even if one is dieting.
Circadian Rhythms & Lifespan
The timing of eating does not affect weight only. Rather, its effect extends to circadian rhythms too, write the authors. Through this link, dietary habits would impact lifespan. The scientists actually performed their experiments with the aim of determining the reason behind the positive effects of calorie-restricted diets on longevity.
Mice that ate their meals at the wrong times appeared to have been sleep-deprived because they ended up being active at night. These included mice from the group where their calorie consumption was decreased by 30%, and mice from another batch which had access to unlimited food. This finding is highly pertinent in this field of research because this type of studies normally involve daytime feeding only. Studies focusing on evaluating the effects of calorie reduction on lifespan might be biased because of other factors like sleep deprivation and messed up circadian rhythms—this would apply if the food timing is not considered.
“Despite the importance of these factors, manipulating when and how much food is available for extended periods has been difficult in past research. This automated system, which can be scaled up for large and very long longevity studies, provides the means to address open questions about what mechanisms extend lifespan in mammals, and whether it is actually the calorie reduction or the time at which food is consumed that extends lifespan,” explains Takahashi.