Most people have a general sense of the best and worst times to do a bit of snacking. Late night treats, for example, are commonly seen as a no-no, specifically because our metabolism tends to function more slowly after 8 p.m. or so – depending on the time you choose to slumber. But, often the vague notion that you shouldn't eat after this time may not be enough to silence your stomach. In that case, a recent study regarding the impact timing has on weight gain could help boost your willpower.

According to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, changing the time frame when you would ordinarily eat can actually alter how much energy your fat cells store. Every fat cell contains a "clock gene" that relays messages to the brain about energy levels and dictates when an individual should eat, ScienceDaily reports. To determine how drastic an effect this moderating genome had on weight gain, the scientists deactivated its expression in the brains of lab mice.

Once this gene, known as Arntl, was out of the picture, the mice began to eat at irregular hours – namely, during the day rather than at night. Though they did not consume any more calories than mice whose brains had not been altered in this way, they were significantly more likely to become obese. In addition, recreating this eating pattern among animals with the clock gene still produced the same results in terms of weight gain.

Obesity can lead to a number of serious health conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, However, though exercise and a healthy diet can help many people get rid of their extra pounds, for some, these measures simply aren't enough. The anti-aging doctors at Longevity Centres of America offer medical weight loss in Houston and Denver, so that anyone who is dedicated to improving their health and overall quality of life can do so.