While snacks are part of a healthy diet, it seems the time of day they are eaten has an impact on weight gain. According to a study conducted by American researchers, mice that ate at unusual times gained twice as much weight as those that ate at normal times. The results suggest that there are actually “wrong” times to eat.
As part of this study, the researchers observed two groups of mice for a period of six weeks. All of the mice were fed a high-fat diet, but at different times of the day. The group that ate at times when they would normally be asleep put on twice as much weight as the mice that ate at normal times, even though all groups ate and exercised equally.
While weight gain can largely be explained by diet and daily physical activity, many other factors are involved. For example, recent research suggests that circadian rhythms – the body’s internal clock – play a role in how our bodies use up energy, although it is difficult to identify the exact mechanisms involved.
This latest study involved mice, so its findings may not apply directly to humans. However, they do add to the conclusions of numerous other studies that had already pointed to an interaction between circadian rhythms and metabolic patterns (e.g. the association between duration of sleep and weight gain).
Until we find out more, a sure way to reach and maintain a healthy body weight is to eat a diet that follows Canada’s Food Guide and to stay active through daily physical activity!