Date
18 December 2017
If you don't eat for at least 12 hours in a 24-hour cycle, you will prevent  yourself getting fat, according to US researchers. Photo: Internet
If you don't eat for at least 12 hours in a 24-hour cycle, you will prevent yourself getting fat, according to US researchers. Photo: Internet

What happens when you eat after dark

Weight gain, apparently, is a matter of time.

American researchers arrived at that conclusion after finding that a 12-hour fast every 24 hours helps control the build-up of unwanted fat in the body, according to BBC News.

In a series of experiments, they found that mice that ate around the clock put on more fat given the same amount of calories.

But fasting for at least 12 hours appears to switch on important fat-burning pathways in the body, the report said citing the journal Cell Metabolism.

The team is planning human tests to see if the same is true in people.

Lead researcher Dr. Satchidananda Panda, an associate professor at the Salk Institute in California, said brown fat, which burns energy at a much higher rate, is also activated by fasting.

Additional work in mice by another team showed that limiting eating to half the day also altered the balance of microbes in the gut which experts say might be important.

Dr. Perry Barrett, a senior research fellow at the University of Aberdeen who does research on regulation of appetite said the revelation that there is a circadian rhythm in gut microbes adds another dimension to this “very interesting area” of research.

He said there had not been many human studies into “chrono-nutrition” but those that had been done had concentrated on sleep cycles.

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