Usually, when someone is on a diet, they would look into the calorie content of the food instead of the time when they eat. A calorie is still a calorie, regardless of the time of the day.
However, some research reveals that calories can be most beneficial to the body at a specific time of the day-that is, in the morning. This could be an effective strategy when someone is trying to lose weight.
Taking Advantage of the Circadian Rhythm to Lose Weight
Understanding the body's circadian rhythm might help in losing weight. It not only regulates the body's sleep-wake pattern over 24 hours but also the timing of the body's processes like digestion, metabolism, and appetite.
But changes in eating and exercising habits could also affect this internal process. It could impact both the physical and mental health of a person and the immunity that is why maintaining the circadian rhythm is very important for the overall health.
A team of researchers from the University of Aberdeen examined some studies in people whose circadian rhythms were distracted on purpose by scientists, and those who have night eating syndrome- eating more than 25% of their daily calories at night.
The team found out that the bodies prefer eating during the daylight hours, which agrees with its natural circadian rhythm. Most of the studies they reviewed showed that night eating affected the hormones in regulating appetite, energy expenditure, and glucose levels.
Theoretically speaking, these changes could lead to an increase in appetite and a decrease in energy levels, which lead to more calorie intake. Ultimately, this leads to weight gain.
But the researchers also think that more studies on humans are still needed to prove the link between circadian rhythm disruption and weight gain. It does, however, found that regular sleep habits and circadian rhythm help the body work properly.
Read Also: Weight Loss & Sleep - Are They Connected?
Metabolism and Weight Loss
Other studies suggest that the time of the day could affect energy balance and body weight. Eating at night is linked to weight gain, perhaps because of a lower appetite regulation or the circadian rhythms and energy levels, making people less likely to exercise the next day.
Furthermore, eating during the day also leads to greater weight loss, although scientists are not sure what causes it. Probably it's because those who miss their breakfast tend to snack more in the evening.
However, it does not guarantee a greater weight loss when a person eats most of the calories in the morning.
Additionally, studies have shown that compared to those who do not eat their breakfast, those who do tend to lose more weight.
In contrast, consuming calories in the evening does not promote weight loss but instead contributes to greater feelings of tiredness the following day and could reduce physical activity.
Lastly, a time-restricted diet appears to support weight loss as there is little time to eat, which reinforces the natural circadian rhythm by stopping the habit of late-night eating.
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