Study: When you eat outweighs what you eat in obesity battle

(Photo: ABC7)

Instead of watching your calorie count while trying to lose weight, a new study suggests perhaps keeping your eye on the clock instead.

A study put on by the Salk Institute in Southern California concluded that there could be a link between the hours during the day a person eats and whether they're obese, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The original study, as published in the journal Cell Metabolism, involved two groups of mice eating the same thing; one was fed during a strict 8-hour window and the other ate throughout the day.

At the end of the study's time period, the group that ate the high-fat diet without time restrictions saw a marked increase in weight and blood sugar. U.S. News also reports that the other group of mice, which ate within the time window, maintained its weight.

Satchidananda Panda, a Salk Institute researcher and an author of the study, told New Scientist that one of the contributing, correlating factors in humans may be that people tend to eat less healthy food near the end of the day and during late-night hours.

That idea is backed up by Kathleen Doheny and Dr. Brulinda Nazario, who write on WebMD that a study in the journal Obesity says that eating at abnormal times can accelerate weight gain.