In today’s busy life, people are staying up later and eating much later too. A new study by researchers at the Salk Institute cautions against eating later at night (or more specifically, longer hours in the day), suggesting instead that restricting caloric consumption to an 8- to 12-hour period might keep high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity at bay.
The results, just published on December 2, 2014 in the journal Cell Metabolism, add to strong evidence suggesting that it’s not just what we eat but when we eat it that matters to our overall health. However, this has not yet been tested in humans.
In this study, nearly 400 mice, ranging from normal to obese, were introduced to various types of diets and lengths of time restrictions. They found that the benefits of time-restricted feeding showed up regardless of the weight of the mouse, type of diet and length of the time restriction, respectively.
Regardless of whether their diets were high in fat, fat and carbohydrates or just carbohydrats, mice that were given time restrictions of 9 to 12 hours, and consumed the same amount of daily calories as their unrestricted counterparts, gained less weight than the controlled group.
Even more interesting, the mice that had already become obese by eating a high-fat diet freely, researchers restricted their food access to a nine-hour window. Although the mice continued to consume the same number of calories, they dropped body weight by five percent within a few days. On top of that, eating this way prevented the mice from further weight gain (by about 25 percent by the end of the 38-week study) compared to the group that kept on the freely available high-fat diet.
This is just one study of so many. I keep researching and do find many different schools of thought but I tell ya, the evidence is pretty stacked in favor of meal timing…not just meal planning!