When the mice on the restrictive diets were fed, they scarfed down their meal (aka, what happens at lunchtime when you haven’t eaten a thing all morning). “In this restricted group, everybody became what we call gorgers,” Martha Belury, senior author of the study and a professor of human nutrition at OSU, told CBS News. “Even though we took the mice off their diets after a few days, they would still gorge.”

READ MORE: How to Lose Belly Fat

Even with the binging habits, the dieting mice did lose weight initially. But when reintroduced to a regular diet, they gained it all back. (Sound familiar, anyone who has ever dieted?) And not only did the mice gain weight, but they showed signs of insulin resistance, which means that their livers forgot how to respond to insulin signals telling it to stop producing glucose. When this happens, the excess buildup of sugar in the blood then becomes stored as fat — in humans, it settles nicely right in the tummy. Hence why belly fat is connected to metabolic syndrome and insulin-related health problems like diabetes.

The best way to keep your body functioning right? Eat smaller meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar stable. Even if you don’t have time for breakfast, grab a banana or a healthy granola bar (make sure it’s not packed with sugar!) that will get your body going and let it know it’s not starving.

READ MORE: Lazy Girl Guide: 13 Easy Ways to Lose Weight