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A team from Northwestern University, Illinois, found that when you eat, not just how you eat, could make a big difference. Scientists found that when mice ate at unusual hours, they put on twice as much weight, despite exercising and eating as much as the other mice. The study, in the journal Obesity, is said to be the first to show directly that there is a “wrong” time to eat. Recent studies have suggested that circadian rhythms, the body’s internal clock, have a role in how our bodies use up energy. However, this had been difficult to prove definitively.
Deanna Arble, the main author of the study, said: “One of our research interests is shift workers, who tend to be overweight. This got us thinking that eating at the wrong time of day might be contributing to weight gain”.
The researchers looked at two groups of mice over a six-week period. Both groups were fed a high-fat diet, but at different times of the mice “waking cycle”. One group of mice ate at times when they would normally be asleep. They put on twice as much weight. This was despite the fact that they did the same level of activity, and ate the same amount of food, as the other mice. The researchers believe that the findings may have implications for people worried about their weight.
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