Not Just What You Eat, When You Eat Matters

When it Comes to Weight Gain, When You Eat is Important

There is reason to think our eating patterns and nutrition have changed in recent years. People now have greater access to food and more reasons to stay up into the night, even if just to watch TV.  And when people are awake, they tend to snack. In a recent study published in the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism stated that when it comes to weight gain, when you eat is as important as what you eat.

Food Timing is important …”Every organ has a clock”

food timing“Every organ has a clock,” said lead researcher, Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. That means there are times when our muscles and organs will work at peak efficiency and other times when they are sleeping (more or less). A recent  nutrition study showed,  mice restricted to eat for 8 hours, on a high-fat diet per day, ate just as much as those who could eat for 24 hours.  These mice were protected against obesity and other metabolic ills. The research suggests that the health consequences of a poor diet maybe a result from a mismatch between our eating schedules and our body clocks.

Turn on When We Eat

Metabolic cycles are critical for processes from cholesterol breakdown to glucose production; they should be primed to turn on when we eat and when we don’t, vice versa. When people eat frequently throughout the day and night, it can throw off those normal metabolic cycles.

Panda explained “When we eat randomly, those genes aren’t on completely or off completely. The principle is similar to sleep and waking. If we don’t sleep well at night, we aren’t completely awake during the day, and as a consequence, we work less efficiently.”

Free Access or Restricted Access Feeding

To discover whether restricted feeding alone, with no changes in calorie intake could prevent metabolic disease, researchers fed mice either a regular or high-fat diet with one of two types of food access: free access or restricted access feeding.

Gained Less Weight

The time-restricted high-fat diet mice were protected from the adverse effects of a high-fat diet and showed improvements in their metabolic cycles and physiological rhythms. They gained less weight and suffered less liver damage, including lower levels of inflammation, among other benefits.

Restricted Meal Times May be to Help People Shed Pounds

The nutrition timing findings suggests that a lifestyle change of restricted meal times may be to help people shed pounds. At the very least, the new evidence suggests that more careful consideration should be given food timing as an answer to the obesity epidemic.