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Avoid Midnight Snack if You Want to Lose Weight

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Here's a simple tip if you're trying to shed those extra flabs and pounds: steer clear of food at midnight. If you're eyeing those goodies in your refrigerator for your midnight snack, you'd better eat them during daytime.

Researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found evidence that when you eat is as important as what you eat when it comes to losing weight.

For the new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism on Dec. 2, Amandine Chaix from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, together with colleagues, subjected about 400 laboratory mice with varying weight to different types of diets (high in fat, high in sugar, high in both fat and sugar, and normal diets) and different feeding time restrictions.

The researchers discovered that regardless of the animals' diet and despite consuming the same amount of calories per day, the mice that were subjected to feeding time restrictions of nine to 12 hours gained less weight compared with the animals that were allowed to eat anytime.

Interestingly, the researchers also noticed that the time-restricted mice still gained less weight despite being allowed to eat whatever they liked during the weekend, which indicate that time-restricted diet can bear temporary interruption.

"The fact that it worked no matter what the diet, and the fact that it worked over the weekend and weekdays, was a very nice surprise," said Chaix.

The results of the study show that binging during the day is associated with less weight gain than binging on the same food during normal sleeping hours. While the experiment involves mice, this could apply to humans as well.

When obese mice, which were previously allowed to eat anytime they wanted, were moved to a time-restricted diet, the researchers found that they lost five percent of their weight whether there were changes to the amount of calories they had been consuming.

The researchers also said that animals that were subjected to time-restricted feeding (TRF) appear to enjoy more health benefits than the animals that were free to eat anytime.

Chaix and colleagues said that their research shows the potentials of time-restricted feeding for preventing a number of unwanted diseases.

"TRF stabilized and reversed the progression of metabolic diseases in mice with preexisting obesity and type II diabetes," the researchers wrote. "We establish clinically relevant parameters of TRF for preventing and treating obesity and metabolic disorders, including type II diabetes, hepatic steatosis, and hypercholesterolemia."

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