If there is one thing that the sugar free, low carb, low fat, and gluten free dieting trends of the past few decades have taught us, it’s this: a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Right? Wrong! Whereas the source of the calories you consume might not have much bearing on the amount of weight you gain, when you consume them very well might. Research in both mice and humans demonstrates that eating whenever one pleases (mice) or later in the day (humans) causes significantly more weight gain than consuming the same diet in a time restricted manner, in keeping with the cyclical nature of the body’s energy metabolism.
To combat the obesity epidemic, the National Institutes of Health is encouraging diverse scientific investigations through a new Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research.
More than one-third of adults in the United States and nearly 17 percent of the nation’s children are now obese, which increases a person’s chance of developing many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and some cancers. Although American obesity rates leveled off in 2007, in 2008, obesity-related medical costs were an estimated $147 billion. Government, nonprofit and community groups, businesses, health care professionals, schools, families, and individuals are taking action to address this public health problem — and research can provide the foundation for these efforts.