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Science & Weight Loss

Friday, January 04, 2019

Since weight loss is always in the top five New Year's resolutions, our first 2019 Friday Pearl will focus on science suggesting the time of day food is consumed may be far more critical to weight loss and long-term health than the amount of calories ingested.

A study recently conducted at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that mice on a reduced-calorie plan that ate only during normal nocturnal feeding cycles were the only ones among five groups to lose weight, despite consuming the same amount as another group fed during their daylight rest time.

“Translated into human behavior, this study further suggests that eating at the wrong time will not lead to weight loss, even when calories are substantially reduced,” reported Joseph Takahashi, MD, Chairman of  Neuroscience at UT Southwestern Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute.

Besides affecting weight, Dr. Takahashi believes the timing of food consumption affects one’s circadian rhythms and may be the route by which dietary habits dramatically impact both life and health span.  

Rethinking 2019 weight loss resolutions

Have your largest meal during the most active part of the day and your lightest meal very early in the evening.

This is an especially important factor for scientists to consider for future animal research, given that most calorie-reduction studies on mice most always involved only daytime feeding, which is the wrong time for these otherwise nocturnal animals.

Without accounting for the timing of food intake, research that examines the effects of calorie reduction on human life span may be skewed by hidden factors including lack of sleep and desynchronized circadian rhythms.


Culture and traditions

Those of us who were raised on or around farms in the American South and Kansas, traditionally had the largest meal of the day at noon during planting, growing, and harvest seasons, which was always referred to as dinner. This meal provided the strength needed to work in the fields in the afternoons. Supper was served very early evening, and soup was most often the norm.

Interestingly, none of us could think of one farmhand or male relative who worked on  family farms who was overweight during our childhoods.

Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


PEARL: Our grandmother's recommendation to eat lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper may be one of the now science-based keys to improved  health in the coming year. Although, this eating pattern doesn't match  today's family lifestyle, we still suggest eating this way as many days of the week as possible, particularly when trying to lose weight.  

We sincerely wish our readers a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year.