Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Does eating late at night lead to excessive weight gain?

A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University is challenging our ideas of optimal times of food consumption. This study, although performed on animals, has shown that eating at the “wrong time” can likely contribute to weight gain.

During a six week period, two groups of mice were fed the same amount of food, consisting of about 60% fat, at different 12 hour cycles (day vs. night). Being that the mice were nocturnal, it was expected that their optimal time for consuming food would be at night. At the end of the six week study, the group of mice eating during their “wrong time”, simulating humans eating at night, demonstrated a 48% weight increase. The mice that ate at their optimal time showed only a 20% increase.

More research on human populations is needed to develop an optimal or “correct time” to eat. It is still recommended that we eat three complete meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and a smaller portion of food if you're craving a night snack.

For more information about preventing weight management, or to arrange a consultation for personal training, feel free to contact Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406 or visit our website

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