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Does Eating at Night Cause Weight Gain?

Do You Avoid Eating Late at Night to Prevent Weight Gain?

On one hand, knowing how to eat right can be simple — eat when you're hungry, and stick to nutritious foods that fill you up and keep you satisfied. But another component of playing the weight loss game is when you eat, and that's when things can get complicated.

While studies have proven that eating late at night doesn't automatically lead to your body storing more fat, a new study in mice has found a link between when you eat and weight gain. Researchers looked at two groups of mice, both of which were fed the same amount of a high-fat diet, and found that the mice who were only allowed to eat during an eight-hour period during the day ended up gaining less weight than the mice that were allowed to eat the same amount of food any time during the day and night.

Researchers believe that the difference in weight gain is due to the fact that the body's organs operate at peak efficiency at different times, so everything from your liver to your muscles may be burning more calories and working harder depending on the time of day or night. Frequent eating throughout the day and night, they say, may throw off your body's metabolic cycles, so you may be more successful with weight loss if you stop eating at a certain point during your day (even if you are eating the same amount of food).

This newest study is just one more piece of information in the late-night eating debate, but the theory hasn't been tested on humans yet. And it's important to note that this study doesn't prove the myth that you shouldn't eat past a certain time to avoid your food turning into fat — the study is just saying that restricting when you eat to a certain time period may help regulate your metabolic cycles. In any case, what's your take on the issue: do you avoid eating late at night to prevent gaining weight?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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