According to a new study when it comes to weight gain, when you eat might be as important as what you eat.
What: In a study published in the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism, researchers looked to find whether restricted meal timing mattered in keeping weight off in a high fat diet. To find out whether restricted feeding alone — without a change in calorie intake — could prevent metabolic disease, the team fed mice either a standard or high-fat diet with one of two types of food access: ad lib feeding (eating randomly throughout the day) or restricted access.
Results: The time-restricted mice on a high-fat diet were protected from the adverse effects of a high-fat diet and showed improvements in their metabolic and physiological rhythms. They gained less weight and suffered less liver damage. The mice also had lower levels of inflammation, among other benefits. According to the lead author of the study Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, ”Every organ has a clock, that means there are times that our livers, intestines, muscles, and other organs will work at peak efficiency and other times when they are — more or less — sleeping.”
So What: It’s hard to draw a tangible recommendation from a study done on mice, but let’s defer to the head researcher and see what he believes we can take from this study. According to Panda, “there is reason to think our eating patterns have changed in recent years, as many people have greater access to food and reasons to stay up into the night, even if just to watch TV. And when people are awake, they tend to snack.” “The take-home message,” says Panda, “is that eating at regular times during the day and overnight fasting may prove to be beneficial, but, we will have to wait for human studies to prove this.” So if you’re looking to make a small change in the way you eat to keep extra weight off, restricting when you eat might be something to experiment with.
Photo via Marcin Wichary