Has scientific research found a metabolic trick based on meal scheduling to aid in the fight against obesity?
People are often put off by high-fat diets because of the presence of the word “fat” in it. The common misconception is that if you eat fats, you’ll invariably get fat. Previous research has also established that feeding mammals a high-fat diet leads to metabolic disorders and obesity. However, a recent study conducted by a team of researchers from the Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, shows that a carefully scheduled high-fat diet can lead to a reduction in body-weight and prevent obesity.
Time-restricted feeding, in which you eat at the same time and for the same length of time every day, has been proven to reset the circadian clock, possibly leading to better health. Therefore, the researchers wanted to see whether long-term scheduling of meals would also attenuate the disruptive effects of a high-fat diet, by resetting the circadian rhythm.
For 18 weeks a group of mice were fed a high-fat diet on a fixed schedule. This group was compared to three other groups of mice: one ate a low-fat diet on a fixed schedule, one ate an unscheduled low-fat diet, and one ate an unscheduled high-fat diet. All the groups were fed the same amount of calories.
Throughout the experiment, each of the four groups of mice gained weight. But surprisingly, the mice on the scheduled high-fat diet had the lowest final body weight amongst all the groups. In addition, these mice demonstrated a unique metabolic state in which ingested fats were not stored, but rather used for energy.
The results show that the timing of food consumption can modify the effects of macro-nutrients in the diet. Therefore, consistent scheduling of meals may lead to improved metabolism and help prevent obesity and body fat gain.
Personal Trainer Practical Recommendations:
The personal trainers here at Capital Strength & Conditioning recommend you attempt to have a relatively consistent eating schedule. Combining this schedule with a balanced diet with adequate distribution of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates from whole food sources. This will help lead to optimal health and body composition when calories are aligned to weight loss or gain goals. The ratio of these macro-nutrients and calorie levels are primarily based on an individuals type and amount of activity.
Link to original study: http://www.fasebj.org/content/26/8/3493