Experiment with rats shows that eating at night is fattening. Research shows that meals when the rhythm of the body is slower also make you eat more...
In order to maintain an appropriate body weight, it is very necessary to take into account the timing of meals. The one who usually eats more food at night is more prone to weight gain, according to a study at Northwestern University in Illinois, the United States.
People who consume more than half of their daily calories after dinner, or working night shifts, have a greater tendency to tend gain more, because "they eat at the time in which the natural rhythm of the body asks to sleep," explains the authors of the study, published in the journal Obesity.
The work, directed by the researcher, Fred Turek, lead author of the study, focused on the circadian rhythm, a sort of biological clock that indicates when it's time to sleep, wake up and eat during a 24-hour day, and has an important role the study of obesity.
To come to the conclusion that eating without respecting that the circadian metabolic rhythm facilitates the emergence of obesity, the leaders of the six-week research studied two groups of rats who followed a diet with high fat content: one during the 12 hours of the day and another during the 12 hours at night.
After comparing the weight of the rodents before and after the experiment, and comparing those mice that are nocturnal with those that ate in day, Turek and his team observed and concluded that the equivalent in humans that ate at night gained more weight than the others.
According to experts, the lack of sync with the circadian rhythm leads the rats to eat more and makes energy expenditure lower, which makes them fat.
Given the outcome of this research, the authors opine that "changing meal times can greatly affect body weight, and this may be the beginning of the development of new strategies to combat obesity."
"Consuming most of your calories at night and being overweight are things that often go together due to the fact that the metabolism, that is to say, the speed the body burns calories, is slower when the body is programmed for sleeping," explains Dr. Allan Geliebter, of the Obesity Research Center, the Saint Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York.
Attacks on the refrigerator
For this reason, much of what is ingested late at night may end up being stored as body fat. And what's worse, once they have begun to eat, it is harder to stop: the nocturnal attacks on the fridge could easily provide 500 calories at a time, without the person realizing.
"By allowing yourself to eat in excess, a vicious circle is created: not only are necessary calories ingested, as the stomach expands for the largest amount of food eonsumed, so it needs more food to fill it, which in turn will induce new exaggerations," says Geliebter.
Translated from the Portuguese version by: