A Calorie isn’t Just a Calorie – When you Eat and What you Eat Matters

Late-night snackers beware – pacifying those midnight sugar cravings or fatty 2am indulgences will pack on the pounds fast.

In previous studies, researchers at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam found that mice consuming the majority of their calories during their “inactive period” gained more weight than those that consumed the same number of calories during their active period.

A new study, announced Tuesday, was designed to determine if consumption of calories from high-fat or high-sugar foods and beverages contributed more greatly to weight gain when consumed during inactive periods versus active periods. Researchers found that rats consuming sugar solution during an inactive period gained more weight than rats consuming the same solution in equal amounts during an active period. Additionally, the rats consuming a diet high in saturated fat during inactive periods saw fewer gains than the rats consuming sugar.

Remember that sugar is a carbohydrate – just 4 calories per gram, while fat is 9 calories per gram – yet weight gain is more heavily linked to sugar consumption.

This study does a great deal to support the theory that sugary beverages, like those being banned in NYC, contribute greatly to obesity. However, inactivity is a significant link as well. (And don’t get me wrong, I still oppose the law on the premise that it is infringing on our freedoms.)

If you are struggling with weight management, you may want to examine what you’re eating and when. Consumption of sugary beverages and fatty foods combined with inactivity will contribute to excess pounds.

Don’t mistake “activity” for being awake. If you are inactive, such as sitting at a computer or in front of the TV – whether it is 10am or 2am – sugary foods and beverages can add additional pounds mercilessly.  A healthy diet is best – sugar is unnecessary in the diet. If you must consume “junk” foods, try to monitor your portions and eat these foods prior to or just after activity to inhibit storage of these empty calories.

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