Meal timing beats low-fat diet
An Israeli study suggests a fixed timetable for meals could be a more effective method of dieting than trying to cut out fatty foods.
Previous studies have shown that both a high-fat diet and eating patterns that disrupt the natural body clock can interfere with metabolism and raise the risk of obesity.
Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem tested the effects of timing and fat intake on four groups of mice over an 18-week period to determine whether careful scheduling of meals could lower the effects of a high-fat diet.
All four of the groups gained weight over the course of the trial, with the group that ate a high-fat diet at irregular intervals unsurprisingly gaining the most weight, while those on a low-fat, scheduled diet gained the least.
More surprisingly, the mice that had been fed a high-fat diet at regular intervals finished the trial in a better condition than those that ate low-fat foods whenever they wanted, despite both groups consuming the same number of calories overall.
The mice in the scheduled, high-fat group had 12% lower body weight, 21% lower cholesterol and 1.4 times higher sensitivity to insulin than the unscheduled, low-fat group.
The diet also changed their metabolism so that they burnt off the fats they ingested to produce energy in between meal times, rather than storing the fat in their bodies.
The results were reported in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.