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When Is the Wrong Time to Eat?

Is there a right and wrong time to eat when dieting? According to a new study by the UT Southwestern Medical Centre in the US, there is. It found that eating at the ‘wrong time’ could affect our weight and body clock.
A research team tested mice using a high-tech feeding system. The mice that ate during their usual feeding times were the only ones to lose weight, compared to four other groups that consumed the same amount of calories.

Why do eating times matter when dieting?

Dr Joseph S. Takahashi, Chairman of Neuroscience at UT Southwestern's Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, explained:
"Translated into human behaviour, these studies suggest that dieting will only be effective if calories are consumed during the daytime when we are awake and active. They further suggest that eating at the wrong time at night will not lead to weight loss even when dieting.

Eat right for a longer life

Published in Cell Metabolism, the study sought to find why calorie-restricted diets lead to a longer lifespan.
"It has been known for decades that caloric restriction prolongs lifespan in animals, but these types of studies are very difficult to conduct because they required manual feeding of subjects over many years. Therefore, shortcuts were taken in order to deal with practical matters such as the normal Monday-to-Friday work week," Dr Takahashi said.
Interestingly, the team also believes that time-restricted eating can improve sleep – by regulating the circadian rhythms (our internal body clock).
That being said, more research needs to be done. But the research team is confident their automated feeding system could be used for larger studies, to see the impact of calorie restriction and time-of-day eating on lifespan.

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