Current Obesity Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 91–100

Delayed Timing of Eating: Impact on Weight and Metabolism

Psychological Issues (M Hetherington and V Drapeau, Section Editors)


Animal studies of delayed eating have provided useful information regarding the potential relationship between nighttime eating and increased weight and metabolic dysregulation, which occur in the absence of increased locomotion or increased caloric intake. We first review recent studies detailing these relationships and possible mechanisms in rodents. We then examine human data showing that sleep restriction leads to increased energy intake and weight gain, followed by a review of the human phenotype of delayed eating, night eating syndrome, and its relation to weight and metabolism. Finally, we examine human experimental studies of delayed eating and discuss preliminary data that show slight weight gain, dysfunction in energy expenditure, and abnormalities in the circadian rhythms of appetitive, stress, and sleep hormones. Well-controlled, longer-term experimental studies in humans are warranted to test the effect of delayed eating without sleep restriction to clarify whether limiting or eliminating nighttime eating could lead to weight loss and significantly improve related disorders, such as diabetes and heart disease, over time.


Sleep deprivation Circadian Delayed eating Energy intake Weight Energy expenditure Chronotype Leptin Ghrelin Night eating syndrome Macronutrients Metabolism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly C. Allison
    • 1
  • Namni Goel
    • 2
  • Rexford S. Ahima
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Sleep and Chronobiology, Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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