Evidence in female rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatto) that nighttime caloric intake is not associated with weight gain

Elinor L. Sullivan, Alejandro J. Daniels, Frank H. Koegler, Judy L. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the hypothesis that nighttime consumption of calories leads to an increased propensity to gain weight. Research Methods and Procedures: Sixteen female rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) were ovariectomized and placed on a high-fat diet to promote weight gain, and we examined whether monkeys that ate a high percentage of calories at night were more likely to gain weight than monkeys that ate the majority of calories during the day. Results: Within 6 weeks post-ovariectomy, calorie intake and body weight increased significantly (129 ± 14%, p = 0.04; 103 ± 0.91%. p = 0.02, respectively). Subsequent placement on high-fat diet led to further significant increases in calorie intake and body weight (368 ± 56%, p = 0.001; 113 ± 4.0%, p = 0.03, respectively). However, there was no correlation between the increase in calorie intake and weight gain (p = 0.34). Considerable individual variation existed in the percentage of calories consumed at night (6% to 64% total daily caloric intake). However, the percentage of calorie intake occurring at night was not correlated with body weight (r = 0.04; p = 0.87) or weight gain (r = 0.07; p = 0.79) over the course of the study. Additionally, monkeys that showed the greatest nighttime calorie intake did not gain more weight (p = 0.94) than monkeys that showed the least nighttime calorie intake. Discussion: These results show that eating at night is not associated with an increased propensity to gain weight, suggesting that individuals trying to lose weight should not rely on decreasing evening calorie intake as a primary strategy for promoting weight loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2072-2080
Number of pages9
JournalObesity research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2005


  • Body fat
  • Estrogen
  • High-fat diet
  • Monkey
  • Ovariectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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