Friday, September 4, 2009

Eating late at night adds weight...or is it eating at the wrong time?

Given my interest in intermittent fasting I found this article and report interesting. ( some modes of IF - e.g. the Warrior diet - sees you just having one big meal at night)

The BBC reported that:

Late-night snackers are more likely to gain weight, research suggests.

Although strictly speaking, that is not really what the science said. The study says this:

Studies of body weight regulation have focused almost entirely on caloric intake and energy expenditure. However, a number of recent studies in animals linking energy regulation and the circadian clock at the molecular, physiological, and behavioral levels raise the possibility that the timing of food intake itself may play a significant role in weight gain. The present study focused on the role of the circadian phase of food consumption in weight gain. We provide evidence that nocturnal mice fed a high-fat diet only during the 12-h light phase gain significantly more weight than mice fed only during the 12-h dark phase. A better understanding of the role of the circadian system for weight gain could have important implications for developing new therapeutic strategies for combating the obesity epidemic facing the human population today.

So feed nocturnal mice in the day and they get fatter than if you feed them in the dark. The take home from this according to the journalists is that it is not just what you eat but when you eat it that matters.

Here is more from the BBCs view of this:

Deanna Arble, lead author of the study, said: "One of our research interests is shift workers, who tend to be overweight.

"This got us thinking that eating at the wrong time of day might be contributing to weight gain."
The experiment looked at two groups of mice over a six-week period. Both groups were fed a high-fat diet, but at different times of the mice "waking cycle".

One group of mice ate at times when they would normally be asleep. They put on twice as much weight. This was despite them doing the same level of activity, and eating the same amount of food, as the other mice.


So when is it natural for us to eat? In the day......or at night? after the hunt? When is the right time and when is wrong?


PJNOIR said...

Eating at night is natural for me. I fast during the day and eat in the evening. I have not gained weight- I'm losing body fat. It would be the afternoon meals that I don't need that would put increase my calorie count.

Mary Titus said...

I think that fasting is important. It doesn't matter what time you eat what matters is the length of time between meals. If I were to have a midnight snack, I would not eat before 8:00 the next evening. I am confident that I would not gain any weight by eating at midnight. I definietely would expect to gain if I had a midnight snack then eat breakfast at 7:00 AM.Yet, that's what many people do, as if to think that the midnight meal was somehow invisible. As long as I use my "inner-Spock" and think logically I can lose weight and remain healthy.