This app tracks overeating habits and may be the key to weight loss

Handpick food porn
Shutterstock / Joshua Resnick
If I’m being honest, my go-to cure for boredom generally manifests itself in a snack. Not sure what to watch on Netflix? Grab a bag of chips and think on it. Looking for a way to kill time? Eat a cookie. And while it may keep our mouths busy and our stomachs happy, the repetitive motion of reaching for a candy bar for no good reason other than having nothing better to do may be a key factor in the obesity epidemic across the nation. Now, there’s an app for that.

Certainly, a number of studies have noted that having several small meals across the day may be better for our metabolism and general health than three large meals, but it seems that some of us have taken that principle to a rather perverse extreme. Now, thanks to myCircadianclock, an app initially developed by Satchidananda Panda and Shubhroz Gill of the Salk Institute for research purposes, scientists have found that the majority of participants in their study consumed a great deal of their calories late at night, while maintaining a consistent caloric intake during the day as well.

Interestingly enough, many people didn’t seem to realize that this was the case. “Most participants thought they don’t eat or drink that regularly outside their breakfast-lunch-dinner routine,” Panda said, though their results clearly indicated otherwise. In conducting their experiment, Panda and Gill simply asked 150 men and women, all between the ages of 21 and 55, to take photos of everything they consumed. Over 50 percent of participants, the researchers said, ate for most of the 15 hours during which they were awake, fasting only when they were asleep.

The scientists then went a step further, examining what would happen when a group of participants were asked to eat for only 10 hours out of the day. After 16 weeks, Panda and Gill found that these eight individuals had cut their average caloric intake by 20 percent, and had lost an average of 7 pounds. Moreover, they reported higher levels of energy, better sleep, and all-around improved health.

The issue with late-night eating, which appears to be the problem for many chronic snackers, Panda explained, is that “the genes that are there to properly process those fats and sugars are not [activated] at their optimal level” once your metabolism has wound down for the day. By simply keeping more careful tabs on when you eat, you may be doing yourself some pretty serious health favors.

While tracking calories may seem like a dangerous rabbit hole to go down, researchers suggest that being more conscious of when you are eating is likely a good start. Nutritionist Lona Sandon of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas says, “I see this a lot in those that I work with in my weight-loss classes. There is a lack of planning and stability in their eating schedules, so eating just happens whenever.”

At the end of the day, you may not need to take pictures of everything you eat, but just be aware of when you’re eating it.


MIT science photographer isn’t an artist, but her work could fill galleries

Felice Frankel is an award-winning photographer, but she doesn't consider herself an artist. As a science photographer, she has been helping researchers better communicate their ideas for nearly three decades with eye-catching imagery.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.
Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

Amazon slashes price of 2018 iPad to under $250 in time for Christmas

Whether you love Apple or prefer Android, this 2018 iPad 32GB tablet deal is rather tempting. If you're still on the hunt for gifts, then this deep discount from Amazon makes now an excellent time to pick one up.