Losing weight without counting your calories may seem unusual, but according to researchers at Salk Institute, a simple 12-hour eating period could be the key to weight loss. Snacking during bedtime has become a bad habit for many of us and it seems that burning calories continues to be a struggle. The results of this new study by researchers at the Salk Institute published in Cell Metabolism, suggests that it’s not only what we consume but when we eat it that matters the most (Salk Institute 2014).
Back in 2012, Satchidananda Panda, a Salk associate professor, demonstrated that mice which were fed a high-fat diet, but granted access to that diet for just 8 hours per day, were healthier and smaller than mice given access to the exact same food for the entire day, although the two groups consumed the same amount of calories. This new study demonstrates that the benefits of time limitation is shockingly more important than initially thought and can reverse diabetes and obesity (Salk Institute 2014).
In these days, most of the advice about how to lose weight involves nutrition or changing your diet. But what if you don’t have access to a healthy diet? Panda and his researchers sought out to find how forgiving time-restricted feeding was so he and his group subjected approximately 400 mice to a variety of diets and lengths of time restrictions (Salk Institute 2014). They discovered that the benefits of time-restricted feeding showed up regardless of the weight of the mouse, type of diet and length of the time restriction. The mice were given time limitations of 9 to 12 hours-and ate the same amount of daily calories as their unrestricted counterparts- gained less weight than the controlled subjects regardless of whether their diets were high in fat (Salk Institute).
This study basically shows that you can consume a high fat diet as long as you limit yourself to when you eat and still lose weight. Time-restriction seems to be the key in this study because the amount of calories and the type of diet didn’t make any difference. I believe that when you give your body time to disgust and break down the food, it has a positive effect on your metabolism which in turn helps you burn more calories. Eating a high fat diet between a 9 to 12-hour-window doesn’t seem difficult at all because many of us are busy working long hours to begin with.
Researchers issued some of the time-limited mice a short period of relief on weekends, allowing them free access to high-fat diets for these two days. These mice had less fat mass and gained less weight than the ones allowed a freely available, high-fat meal the entire time. Furthermore, the mice that were fed freely just on weekends appeared much similar as the mice given access to food 9 or 12 hours a day for 7 days a week, meaning that the diet can withstand some temporary interruptions (Salk Institute). The most shocking fact is that it doesn’t matter what the diet is or what period of the week it is because it worked on the weekends as well.
One of the most important facts is that the mice that were already obese by eating a freely available high-fat diet, lost weight by 5 percent within a few days, when researchers restricted their food access to a 9-hour window. Eating this way stopped the mice from gaining more weight (by nearly 25% by the end of a 38-week study) compared to the group kept on the freely available high-fat diet. This study by Panda and his researchers is a great set-up experiment for future research on the causes of diabetes, says Panda. The next step is to investigate the effects of time-restricted diets in humans. Until next time, take care and God bless!
Source: Salk Institute www.salk.edu “Another case against the midnight snack” 2 December 2014
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