If you want to lose weight, avoid eating at night
Low-calorie meals are a great way to get rid of those extra pounds. However, researchers have now found that even the best diets are pointless if you eat at the wrong times. Eating outside of the active hours of the day can make you gain weight.
In their current investigation, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center found that eating outside the active hours of the day caused mice to gain weight in the laboratory. The researchers published the results of their study in the journal "Cell Metabolism".
With a diet, the calories should be consumed throughout the day
In the study, the experts compared the weight of mice with a reduced calorie intake. One group of mice was fed during the day, the other group was allowed to eat late at night. The study results suggest that diets are only effective if calories are consumed during the day, at a time when we are awake and active, author Dr. Joseph Takahashi.
Eating during the day leads to higher weight loss
Eating food during the night does not support weight loss on a diet. However, if the mice ate their meals during the day, this resulted in increased activity and significantly greater weight loss.
Doctors used an automated feeding system in the study
It has been known for decades that calorie restriction extends animal lifespan. Nevertheless, these types of studies are very difficult to carry out because they require manual feeding with exact dosing over many years, the experts explain. An automated feeding system was therefore used in the current investigation.
What mechanisms lead to weight loss?
This automated system offered the opportunity to answer questions that were still open. For example, it is about which mechanisms lead to weight loss and extend the lifespan in mammals, say the scientists. Is it actually the reduced calorie intake or the time at which we eat our food?
Effects of lack of sleep
A good night's sleep can help us lose weight and is important for our health and well-being, the experts speculate. A lack of sleep can affect our relationships, our work, and our energy levels. Then we usually react moody, irritated, hungry and tired, the authors add.
Lack of sleep affects our hormones
If you have trouble sleeping, the levels of ghrelin in the natural hormone level change. This hormone is located in the stomach and is responsible for our appetite for foods that contain carbohydrates and sugars. At the same time, our leptin response is reduced. Leptin tells our brain when we are saturated. The changes keep us feeling hungry, the researchers say. This effect is one reason why shift workers often have problems maintaining a healthy body weight.
People without sleep problems lose more fat through dieting
Another study had already shown that people who lose diet lose about 56 percent more fat if they don't have sleep problems. The scientists found that people with a lack of sleep lost the same amount of weight, but more muscle mass was lost instead of fat. (as)