A late dinner, especially if it happens on a regular basis, may lead to metabolic disorders and result in obesity and diabetes II. Experts from Vanderbilt University in the US have suggested that the dysfunction of the biological clock is the factor behind these consequences. Disorientated circadian rhythms cause the cells to absorb nutrients at any time as they are unable to differentiate the difference in the time of day, leading to the accumulation of fat and to the development of insulin resistance that provokes diabetes II.
Christopher Colwell and his colleagues from the University of California in Los Angeles have studied how late feeding can affect the memory and mental abilities of mice. They fed one group of mice at the time when the mice typically sleep and observed how the mice reacted to two objects, one which they had been previously familiar with but the other, they had not. Another group of mice received food at the usual feeding time. The mice that were fed at the habitual time paid little attention to the familiar object, but were more interested in learning about the unknown one. On the contrary, the mice that were fed at the inopportune time did not recognize the familiar object that they had observed before and studied both objects with equal interest. According to the scientists, the experiment suggests that the schedule of feeding influences memory.
In the second experiment, the researchers studied the correlation of the ability of the mice to learn with feeding habits. The scientists understood that when the mice that are fed improperly, they possess low learning ability. These mice forget any fear that they have experienced. The researchers have discovered that the mice receiving food at the wrong time have worse memory and compromised ability to learn.
However, it should be emphasized that the above mentioned experiments were conducted in mice. Perhaps, the same effects are also happening in humans, but researchers have yet to confirm this theory.
Svetlana Stroganova, Nikolai Shmelev