What You Eat Is Just As Important As When You Choose To Eat It

Categories: Food News

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I'd been thinking that keeping an eye on the total amount of calories I consume, regardless of when I eat was the key from not gaining weight. Eat a huge meal here, skip one there and things will all balance out, right? Turns out a simple calorie count may not be the only key to maintaining weight. A short article in the New York Times Magazine this Sunday points out research conducted on mice that showed the time of day they ate had significant effect on weight gain.

One group ate during its active hours, the other only during its normal sleeping period, but both groups consumed about the same number of calories. The study found that the mice who ate during their inactive time ballooned, adding 48 percent to their body weight. The animals that ate during active hours added only 20 percent, even on the high-fat diet.

The idea that eating smaller meals more frequently can help control weight was also debunked. Those who spread their calories out over many meals gain no advantage over those who eat three squares a day. In fact, the nibblers even reported feeling more hungry.

The short article was part of a collection of Q&As featured in the annual food issue of the magazine, which you can access online. The interface lets you navigate questions asked by readers and answered by food experts like Sam Sifton, Michael Polan and more. Elsewhere in the magazine, Sifton pens a nice essay in defense of the family meal, complete with pictures from tables around the country, and Mark Bittman creates a dinner party matrix you can use to solve all your entertaining menu problems. Both are inspirations for those who wish they cooked at home a little more often.


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11 comments
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Evan
Evan

I'd like to see the actual study, because while I've seen the notion that eating more frequently is better for you dispelled, and not eating close to (or immediately before) bed is a no-brainer, but everything I've read suggests that intermittent fasting is a good thing, and generally that means no breakfast (or no dinner, depending on how your hours are set up).

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

So many different research papers done on eating and everyone's an expert. Different things work for different people IMO. Some experts claim that fasting slows your body's metabolism, and that you should eat at least 5 times a day. If people are really interested in maintaining health, get some exercise and eat in moderation, not until you're stuffed. If that doesn't work, try Nate Newton's doctor. Nate's dropped like 200+ lbs and looks almost like a skeleton.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Nate just quit smokin' and doesn't have the munchies anymore...

Nick R.
Nick R.

My 2 a.m. Foie Gras flight is starting to sound like a bad idea

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

This is what you get for reading that MSM/SRM rag. It's clear you are a freedom hating anti-exceptionalist. 

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I'm confused, how do you differentiate between active and inactive times? I'm too lazy to click away.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

the mice in the study ate at night, when they were typically sleeping.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

so mice can eat and sleep at the same time, damn, all I can do is shit and sleep, and thats usually when im hungover taking my morning dump and the wife knocks on the bathroom door to ask If I will be done soon.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

that's where I was going. According to this reasoning, i shouldn't gain weight, unless I'm sleep eating.

primi timpano
primi timpano

How did the mice know it was night?

primi timpano
primi timpano

All the mice I've run into sleep during the day and run around at night.

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