A new study says that many Americans eat frequently during their 15 or more waking hours instead of consuming three traditional meals during daytime hours.
The study was conducted by the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, and published in the journal Cell Metabolism on Sept. 24.
"Most participants thought they don't eat or drink that regularly outside their breakfast-lunch-dinner routine," said study co-author Satchidananda Panda, who added that the "recorded fact was different," notes HealthDay News.
For the study, 150 healthy men and women between the ages of 21 and 55 in the San Diego area used a cellphone app to take pictures of everything they ate and drank for 21 days; the participants were not on diets.
The mobile app recorded how many calories they consumed, as well as times and places during consumption.
More than one-third of food was eaten after 6 p.m., while less than one-quarter of all calories were consumed before noon.
The only time most of the people did not eat, according to the study, was when they slept.
The Los Angeles Times reports the study concluded that eating all day may contribute to the nationwide epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
The researchers believe that fasting 10 to 12 hours at night may help people more than just limiting their total number of excessive calories. A longer nighttime fast may help the body reset itself and burn extra calories.