The research at Oregon Health & Science University is published in the current edition of the journal Obesity Research. "We've all been told at one point in our lives that we should avoid late-night snacks as they will lead to weight gain. In reality, however, this belief is not based on fact. We conducted a review of previous data on the topic and found no real evidence that this was true,” said Judy Cameron, Ph.D., a senior scientist in the Divisions of Reproductive Sciences and Neuroscience.
“In addition, our research in rhesus monkeys, which are considered an excellent model for studying primate - man and monkey - obesity issues, showed that eating at night is no more likely to promote weight gain than eating during the day," Cameron added.
The scientists studied 16 female rhesus monkeys that were placed on a high-fat diet similar in composition to the diet normally consumed by humans in the United States and other Western countries. The researchers then observed the monkeys for one year. The scientists also noted how much and when the animals ate, which varied dramatically among the animals observed. The monkeys ate between six percent and 64 percent of their total calories at night. This is comparable to human reports.
"We were not surprised to find that as a group, the monkeys in this study gained weight when they were placed on this very palatable diet," said Elinor Sullivan, an OHSU graduate student conducting research along with Cameron at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. "However, what did surprise us initially was the fact that there was no clear correlation between caloric intake and weight gain. In other words, the monkeys that ate more didn't necessarily gain more weight. In addition, while some monkeys preferred to eat during the day and others ate most of their calories at night, neither of these groups gained more weight than the other."
MEDICA.de; Source: Oregon Health & Science University