Studies of body weight regulation have focused almost entirely on caloric intake and energy expenditure. However, a number of recent studies in animals linking energy regulation and the circadian clock at the molecular, physiological, and behavioral levels raise the possibility that the timing of food intake itself may play a significant role in weight gain. The present study focused on the role of the circadian phase of food consumption in weight gain. We provide evidence that nocturnal mice fed a high‐fat diet only during the 12‐h light phase gain significantly more weight than mice fed only during the 12‐h dark phase. A better understanding of the role of the circadian system for weight gain could have important implications for developing new therapeutic strategies for combating the obesity epidemic facing the human population today.
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