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Research: What you eat isn’t as important as when you eat it.

It seems that what you eat isn’t as important as when you eat it. New research by Satchindananda Panda, at the Salk Institute in California, has found that mice who ate a high fat diet in an 8 hour eating window didn’t gain weight but other mice who were able to eat this same diet over a 24 hour period gained a staggering 28% more weight in just a two month period. They speculated that the mice who ate in an 8 hour window would then give their bodies time to be able to cut down fat storage and turn on fat burning mechanisms.

The PROMIS eating disorder guidelines advise people to eat three meals a day, avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates, and eating a balanced diet. In particular, we advise not to snack in between these meals and not to eat outside the meal times.

Interestingly the blood sugar levels were also more balanced in the mice who ate in an 8 hour period also reducing the risk of diabetes. Peaking of blood sugar levels is one of the factors PROMIS believes will set off cravings and it is the maladaptive coping with these excessive cravings which we see driving eating disorders through maladaptive efforts to manage this increased appetite.

Robin Lefever

The Salk study found the body stores fat while eating and starts to burn fat and breakdown cholesterol into beneficial bile acids only after a few hours of fasting. When eating frequently, the body continues to make and store fat, ballooning fat cells and liver cells, which can result in liver damage. Under such conditions the liver also continues to make glucose, which raises blood sugar levels. Time-restricted feeding, on the other hand, reduces production of free fat, glucose and cholesterol and makes better use of them. It cuts down fat storage and turns on fat burning mechanisms when the animals undergo daily fasting, thereby keeping the liver cells healthy and reducing overall body fat.

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