Meal times can impact weight loss

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The time you’re eating your meals can impact your waistline, with night time eating potentially disastrous for dieters.

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In a new study focused on mice, a team of scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that even when calories are restricted, the body might not lose weight if the food is consumed in the evening.

To get their results the experts used high-tech sensors and automated feeding equipment, and found that mice on a reduced calorie diet who only ate during the day lost weight, whereas mice that ate the same amount of calories but consumed them at night did not.

“Translated into human behaviour, these studies suggest that dieting will only be effective if calories are consumed during the daytime when we are awake and active,” lead author Dr. Joseph Takahashi said. “They further suggest that eating at the wrong time at night will not lead to weight loss even when dieting.

"It has been known for decades that caloric restriction prolongs lifespan in animals, but these types of studies are very difficult to conduct because they required manual feeding of subjects over many years. Therefore, shortcuts were taken in order to deal with practical matters such as the normal Monday-to-Friday work week.”

Findings have been published in journal Cell Metabolism, with Dr. Tkahashi and his team also noting that as well as affecting weight, the timing of meals can also have an impact on the body's 24-hour clock.

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