When you notice you’re putting on a little unwanted weight, the impulse is to cut back on calories. For some, this might mean skipping a meal or fasting for a certain amount of time. A study on lab mice published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistrysuggests that might not be the best approach.

Some mice in the lab at The Ohio State University were allowed to eat whenever they wanted. Another group was only allowed to eat for around 4 hours each day. At first, this group only got half the calories of the eat anytime group, but after less than a week they were given the same amount of food – which they consumed in 4 hours. This turned initial weight loss into abdominal weight gain, and contributed to spikes and crashes of blood sugar.

True Strength Moment: Obviously, this binging and fasting cycle was counterproductive to weight loss and overall well-being. One of the Ohio State researchers suggested eating small meals throughout the day might be helpful for weight loss. It’s a strategy bodybuilders have practiced for decades.

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