Friday, February 22, 2013

Can You Eat Late and Still Lose?

Lately we've heard the only thing that matters to you waistline is how much you eat. But there's a growing body of research that says when you eat really does make a difference in how much you weigh. "Your body is more prone to burn fat at certain times of day and store fat at other times," says Satchin Panda, Ph.D, associate professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA. New studies reveal that to burn the most fat, you need to go 12 hours without eating, like from 8p to 8a.

To keep pounds off, don't eat after dark. Before electricity and all-night dinners, we humans used to spend a long stretch every night without food passing our lips. Staying up and eating late is a very recent phenomenon in human history. Our metabolisms are hardwired to expect a nightly fast, which is a key time for your body to burn fat.

During the day, your brain and muscles use some of the calories you eat for fuel, and the rest gets stored in the liver in the form of glycogen. At night, your body converts that glycogen into glucose and releases it into your bloodstream to keep your blood-sugar levels steady while you sleep. Once the stored glycogen is gone, your livers starts burning fat cells for energy. You burn fat while you sleep!

It takes a few hours to use up the day's glycogen stores. So if you snack until midnight and sit down to breakfast at 7a.m., your body may never get the opportunity to burn any fat before you start reloading your glycogen stores again. It doesn't help that you're also likely to overeat when you're up late. Night owls consume an average of 248 calories more per day than those who got to bed earlier, and most of those calories rack up after 8p.m.

Using this time method may mean that you can snack more and weigh less. In a study just published in Cell Metabolism, Panda's research team for that mice that ate a high-fat diet spread out over the day and night became obese and diabetic, while mice eating the same diet but only over an eight-hour period didn't gain any weight and remained healthy. "Fasting at night can even override most of the negative effects of an unhealthy diet, including weight gain," Panda says.

Source: Health Magazine

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