When You Eat May Be Just As Important As What You Eat


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Watch the clock when you eat. Photo by: Jorge Barrios

Why is the obesity epidemic growing, when there are so many weight loss drugs, programs, exercises and diets? With Americans becoming more overweight, researchers are looking to find answers. A new study entitled, “Time-Restricted Feeding without Reducing Caloric Intake Prevents Metabolic Diseases in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet,” published in the journal Cell Metabolism looks at the effects of eating during an eight hour period versus eating around the clock.

High-Fat Diet and Eating Around the Clock: The Study

Researchers fed the mice either a standard diet, or a high fat diet. They then fed one group of mice only during an eight hour period, while the second group of mice had access to food around the clock. The results? The mice on the high-fat diet who were restricted to eating during an eight hour period gained less weight and had fewer adverse effects from their high-fat diet than the mice who were allowed to eat around the clock.

Dieting At Night: How Mice and People Eat

Decoded Science had the opportunity to interview lead author, Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies about the details of this study. Our first questions: What was the time frame for the mouse mealtimes? How does that correlate to a normal day for a person? Dr. Panda explained that, “Since mice are nocturnal, they were given food from 8pm to 4am which will be equivalent to 8am to 4pm. this does not mean that the time frame works only for 8 h. We have not tested whether 10 or 12 h eating might also work.”

Could this type of diet work for people as well? According to Dr. Panda, “I do not have any explicit recommendation for adult humans as we have to test this hypothesis in humans.  Furthermore some people can become hypoglycemic under overnight fasting condition, so even if we have any human data it is dangerous to make any general recommendation.”

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