Make your final meal of the day one that sets with the sun in order to lose weight.
That’s the overriding conclusion of a recently published study which found that eating after dark could be a contributing factor to obesity.
It’s a theory that correlates the metabolic cycles of different organs to eating schedules, researchers explained in the study published online in the journal Cell Metabolism last week.
While other studies have examined how nighttime eating affects the body’s circadian rhythms, the latest research also underscores how this unhealthy habit relates to the cycles of particular organs.
“Every organ has a clock,” said lead author of the study Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute in a statement.
“That means there are times that our livers, intestines, muscles, and other organs will work at peak efficiency and other times when they are — more or less — sleeping.”
Eating a ham and cheese sandwich before bed or tucking into a pint of ice cream at midnight, however, could sabotage weight loss efforts by throwing off the normal metabolic cycles of these organs.
For the study, researchers put groups of mice on a high-fat diet but restricted their eating hours to eight hours a day. Another group was given unrestricted access to the food.
What they found was that despite consuming a diet high in fat, mice that were restricted to a structured eating schedule showed improvements to their metabolic and physiological rhythms, gaining less weight and suffering less liver damage.
They also showed lower levels of inflammation compared to the rats which were given unfettered access.
Another study published in the journal Obesity found that eating late at night when the body wants to sleep interferes with the body’s natural circadian rhythms and could likewise contribute to obesity.
Meanwhile, if the late-night munchies do strike, consider indulging chip cravings with pretzels and low-fat cheese or sour cream dip, and ice cream with low-fat chocolate milk or yogurt, advises LiveStrong.com. — AFP RELAXNEWS