Weight gain could be affected by the timing of meals, according to a new study, which suggests that changing people's eating habits could aid obesity treatment.
The research showed that eating meals at irregular times, such as in the middle of the night, increases the weight gained, which the authors believe indicates that it is not only important what you eat, but also when you eat it.
Leading the study was Dr Fred Turek, professor of neurobiology and physiology in the Weinburg College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology.
Dr Turek, whose work on circadian time-keeping is aimed at alleviating both mental and physical problems, said: "How or why a person gains weight is very complicated, but it clearly is not just calories in and calories out. We think some factors are under circadian control."
The body's circadian clock is comparable to a biological timing system, which dictates when we eat and sleep in relation to external light and dark cycles.