Many of us today spend much of our time traveling to and from their place of work either sitting in a car or on public transport. Long days at the office when often there is only enough time to take a quick snack at midday, often end with a late meal in front of the TV. There has recently been a study, on animals, which suggests that eating late in the day could increase the risk of obesity.
By eating your last meal of the day at an earlier time and giving your stomach a rest for at least 16 hours you may be able to keep your weight down.
[box type=”important”]Satchidananda Panda, a regulatory biologist at the Salk Institute in La Jolla who ran the study which was recently published online, says â€œWe have come up with something that is a simple alternative to calorie counting.”[/box]
The team ran by Panda used mice in the study. Some of the mice were fed on high fat and high calorie food. These mice were divided into two groups. Both groups were fed the same amount of food but one group was left to feed whenever they wanted day or night whilst the second group was only allowed to feed for an eight-hour period during the night which was also their active period.
Many people would find fasting for 16 hours every night a little difficult as a snack whilst watching television or a late night cup of cocoa is often the norm. The study showed that of the two groups of mice that were fed on the high calorie, high fat food, the ones who had food available to them all the time became obese. However, those mice who only had food available to them for an eight-hour period even though they were fed high calorie, high fat food, were nearly as slim as those mice who had been fed on a normal diet.
The obese mice also showed the usual problems of raised blood sugar, liver disease, high cholesterol etc., that often accompany obesity. However, those mice fed on high calorie, high fat food who only had limited availability to their food had virtually no symptoms of liver disease and their blood sugar and cholesterol levels were almost the same as those mice fed on a normal diet.
[box type=”note”]It appears from this data that our bodies may benefit from the long period of fasting overnight. Those of us who eat late into the evening are giving our bodies unnecessary extra work and if those late meals are also full of fat and cholesterol then we are exposing ourselves to, obesity, liver disease, arterial disease and diabetes.[/box]
In the group of mice who were only given limited access to food the study showed during the fasting period the liver produced enzymes to help neutralise bad cholesterol. The liver also stopped producing glucose during this period and therefore there was no unnecessary sugar floating around in the blood to give rise to diabetic symptoms. These mice had higher body temperatures as calories were used to create heat. This study showed considerable benefits could possibly be gained by fasting for 16 hours each day.
Obesity researchers have shown some interest in the study but have been quick to point out that the mice did not have any fast food outlets to tempt them and they had no choice but to fast when their food was no longer available. They also made the point that mice are a mainly nocturnal animal and their body clocks are different to ours. The idea that we can lose weight or prevent ourselves from becoming obese by only eating during an eight-hour period each day is an interesting concept.