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When You Eat May Contribute To Your Weight Just As Much As What You Eat
When it comes to maintaining weight and all the factors that come into play in the issue of obesity, people automatically think that it is all about what you eat. The common misconception is that it is only what you eat and the amount of food you consumer that has a direct effect on weight or obesity. What most people do not realize is that the periods in the day when a person eats can have just as much impact, if not even more, than what you eat.
According to a study put together by the Salk Institute in Southern California, there could be a direct link between the hours in the day when a person eats to being obese or overweight. The study involved having two groups of mice eat the same thing. One group was fed within a strict 8-hour window and the other group ate at anytime throughout the day. The results? The group that ate within the time restriction maintained its weight while those that ate without time restrictions exhibited increased weight and blood sugar levels.
The Reason Behind the Gain
In the human body, every organ has its own certain clock or special time frame when it is able to operate most efficiently. When it comes to using up the calories that we consume, the liver, intestines, and muscles all work together to burn up those calories. However, they are at peak efficiency during certain times of the day and will “be asleep” during others. In addition to this, cholesterol breakdown and glucose production are also at its peak during these hours.
However, these days, people have greater access to food, there are more unhealthy food options nowadays, and more reasons for people to stay up late such as late night TV or movies. Going out and eating out has also become more popular, leading people to socialize later in the night which will of course involve food and drinks. People also tend to eat less healthy food near the end of the day and more so during late night hours. 24-hour fast food chains and hang-over food joints are just some of the examples of unhealthy food choices.
According to Dr. Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, people have been so focused on what they eat and not a lot of data been collected on the effect of when people eat. He says that eating at night is perhaps not the best idea but a more regulated diet with controlled intervals is something that should be aimed for.
What Can Be Done
If you’ve been controlling the amounts of what you eat or the number of meals you take, yet don’t really watch when you take them, then maybe it’s time to rethink your diet strategy and create a healthier meal plan with better time frames. Nowadays, more and more people are giving importance to being able to eat meals at the proper times in order to keep healthy and keep their metabolism running at a better pace.
At the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Keith Ayoob, associate professor at the department of pediatrics, suggests that a balanced diet is the key to maintaining good weight. Eating three proper meals a day, plus a snack, is a better means of controlling weight gain and metabolism. The cliché has always been true: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast control their weight better than those who go for longer periods without eating. The reason is that the body’s metabolism gets a kick start when eating breakfast as people are most active in the hours between breakfast and dinner. According to the Harvard Medical School, the last meal should be eight to ten hours after breakfast.
Of course, no good diet and weight management plan can work without some exercise. If long-term weight management is the goal, it is important to have an activity component in your diet plan. Working those muscles and burning off calories is always a surefire way of getting your metabolism going.
All in all, it is just as important to take note of when you eat just as much as what you eat. It’s no longer about the number of calories but the types of calories you consume. As studies show, increasing the numbers of hours of fasting can really have significant positive effects on weight, diabetes, and cholesterol control.