Tags: how to lose weight | time meals | lose weight | circadian clock and weight loss

Time Your Meals and Lose Weight

Thursday, 10 Sep 2009 09:07 AM

It’s not just the calories you consume, but the time of day you consume them, according to a study by Northwestern University. The researchers found that weight gain is affected by eating at the wrong time, especially during the night, when the body wants to rest and sleep. This is the first study that links the timing of meals and the body’s circadian clock to putting on pounds.

“How or why a person gains weight is very complicated, but it clearly is not just calories in and calories out,” said Fred Turek, professor of neurobiology and physiology in the Weinburg College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology. “We think some factors are under circadian control. Better timing of meals, which would require a change in behavior, could be a critical element in slowing the ever-increasing incidence of obesity.”

Observation of shift workers, who are forced to eat at night and tend to be overweight, led to the research. Turek, who is senior author of the study, took note that it is not just shift workers who eat late, but many other people as well who consume most of their calories in the evening and keep eating into the night. In an interview with the New York Times, he said that when humans evolved, they hunted for food and ate between sunrise and sunset. “After sunset, there were no refrigerators, no food just hanging around,” he said. “You didn’t eat. But today, most people eat most of their calories after sunset.”

According to the researchers, our body’s circadian clock keeps us in sync with the daily cycle of light and dark by regulating our activity, our sleeping, and our eating. Our internal clock also regulates the use of energy, and timing of meals may be important to the burning and storage of calories.

The researchers used lab mice to test the body-clock theory. Over a six-week period, mice were allowed to eat as much high-fat food as they desired, but only during designated feeding periods. One group of mice was given food during their period of normal activity, but a second group was given food only during their normal rest period. The mice that ate during their rest period increased their weight by 48 percent, while the group that ate during their normal period of activity increased their weight by 20 percent.

How conclusive is the study? In an interview with HealthDay, a spokesperson for the researchers said, “I believe we can at least say that humans should avoid eating during their normal sleeping phase because this could lead to increased weight gain.”

Apparently there is a great deal of wisdom in the old maxim about when to eat, and how much: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”

Fat Fact: More than 300 million adults worldwide are obese, including more than a third of American adults.

© HealthDay

   
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It’s not just the calories you consume, but the time of day you consume them, according to a study by Northwestern University. The researchers found that weight gain is affected by eating at the wrong time, especially during the night, when the body wants to rest and sleep.
how to lose weight,time meals,lose weight,circadian clock and weight loss
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2009-07-10
Thursday, 10 Sep 2009 09:07 AM
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