It seems that there’s mounting evidence against our favorite midnight snacking and more and more research shows that it’s one of the reasons that we gain weight. According to the latest study from Salk Institute weight gain is not just a result of a diet high in calories and fat, but can also be caused by an extended eating time. Furthermore, the scientists discovered that if we limit our calorie consumption to a period of 8-12 hours like our ancestors did a century ago, can help us defeat obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.
According to the authors of the study scheduled eating times help us synchronize the function of our genes. These findings were published in the Cell Metabolism journal. Satchidananda Panda, one of the authors of the study and an associate professor and the Salk Institute points out that many health experts and nutritionist give the same advice when it comes to losing weight, change your diet and eat healthy. But what if not everyone can afford to eat healthy, lacks the time or means to do it? Is there a way to still lose weight with time-restricted eating times without implementing a healthier diet?
In their new study, the scientists took 400 mice, with weights ranging from obese to normal, and subjected them to different eating regimens and time restriction lengths. The results showed that the mice which had time restriction periods of 9-12 hours, regardless of the type of diet they followed, and consumed the same amounts of calories per day, had gained less weight compared to the mice who didn’t have restrictions periods.
Moreover, the researcher gave one group of the time-restricted mice a free weekend and allowed them to have access to high-calorie meals at all times during these two days and still the mice had gained less weight compared to the mice who were fed without restrictions. Furthermore, when they compared the results to the group of mice who were on restricted feeding time 7 days a week, hey discovered that the group of mice who had a free pass just on weekends looked pretty much the same to those who were on restrictions all the time, meaning that this type of diet can be effective even with some short-term interruptions.
The leading author of the study, Amandine Chaix who’s also a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Panda’s lab says that they were pleasantly surprised to discover that the diet worked regardless of the type of food they gave the mice and regardless of the weekend interruptions.
The researchers say that the more important results are those from an experiment in which mice that were already obese from following a high fat diet without restrictions were introduced to a 9 hour eating period. They continued to eat the same amount of calories but were able to reduce their body weight by 5% in just a couple of days. And this type of diet prevented the mice from gaining more weight, compared to the group who stayed on their no-restriction high-fat diet.
Finally, the researchers compared the time-restriction mice with mice who were on a balanced diet and were able to discover that the time-restricted mice had a higher percentage of lean muscle.
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