Thursday, January 30, 2014
Yes, we've long heard that calories are calories, no matter what time of day they're consumed. But thanks, science, for finding out that the HUNGER is different in the case of late night munchies. So still a good idea to close the kitchen after supper!
Research published in the journal Obesity (2013; , 421–23) shows that the body’s internal clock, the circadian system, increases hunger and cravings for sweet, starchy and salty foods in the evenings.
Study authors observed that the internal circadian system regulated hunger, with participants feeling least hungry in the morning (8:00 am) and most hungry in the evening (8:00 pm).
Similar rhythms were found in appetite for specific types of food, such as sweet, starchy and salty, and in how much participants estimated they could eat.
Researchers concluded that the internal circadian system causes an evening peak in appetite that may promote consumption of larger, higher-calorie meals before the fasting period necessitated by sleep.
“Our study suggests that because of the internal circadian regulation of appetite, we have a natural tendency to skip breakfast in favor of larger meals in the evening. This pattern of food intake across the day is exactly what Sumo wrestlers do to gain weight,” said Shea. “So, it seems likely that the internal circadian system helps with efficient food storage. While this may have been valuable throughout evolution, nowadays it is likely to contribute to the national epidemic of obesity.”