Best time to burn the most calories
HERE'S a handy bit of information you'll want to know - but not if you're a shift worker.
If you're sitting in the office for the day, you're burning the most calories in the afternoon.
And you can thank the seven poor people who underwent what sounds like the world's worst study to find this out.
Researchers found 10 per cent more calories are burned in the late afternoon and early evening when they put the small group through a gruelling regimen.
They lived inside a special laboratory and had no clues as to what time it was outside and every night they shifted bedtime by four hours.
This knocked the body's internal clock out of synch so researchers could uncover this daily cycle of resting metabolism.
There were no clocks, windows, phones or internet and participants had assigned times to go to bed and wake up.
Each night, when times were adjusted four hours later, it was the equivalent of travelling westward across four time zones each day for three weeks.
The researchers say this information could be helpful for why schedules with shift work tend to lead to weight gain, or irregularities in eating and sleeping.
They say the findings also reinforce the important role of the circadian clock in governing metabolism.
"The fact that doing the same thing at one time of day burned so many more calories than doing the same thing at a different time of day surprised us," said Kirsi-Marja Zitting, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
"Because they were doing the equivalent of circling the globe every week, their body's internal clock could not keep up, and so it oscillated at its own pace."
Co-author Jeanne Duffy said the study showed it was not only what we ate, but when we ate and rested that impacted how much energy we burned or stored as fat.
"Regularity of habits such as eating and sleeping is very important to overall health," she said.
The researchers will now look at how appetite and the body's response to food varies with the time of day.
They are also exploring how the timing, duration, and regularity of sleep influences those responses.