What is the Circadian Rhythm Diet?
Should you try this for weight loss?
Making informed food choices is essential to eating and having a healthy lifestyle. However, new research indicates that the timing of our meals is equally as crucial as the content of our meals.
Circadian rhythm fasting or the circadian rhythm diet, a science backed ancient wisdom that is suddenly finding new wings.
You might wonder why.
Because biological activities like metabolism, it turns out, are intricately tied to our circadian cycle.
What is a circadian cycle?
Your circadian cycle is a 24-hour internal clock in your brain that cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals.
The hypothalamus (among other body parts), a light-sensitive part of the brain, regulates your circadian cycle.
When your hypothalamus is exposed to light, it signals to the rest of your body that it's time to get up. When it gets dark, your hypothalamus, on the other hand, sends a signal to your body that it's time to relax.
Aside from light, your eating schedule is another important aspect in regulating your circadian rhythm.
"Ghrelin and leptin, two hunger-regulating hormones, are affected by sleep. Ghrelin makes you hungry, whereas leptin makes you satiated, "Harley Pasternak, a famous nutritionist, personal trainer, and author of The Body Reset Diet Cookbook, explains.
"When your body is sleep-deprived, it throws off your circadian cycle, increasing ghrelin levels and decreasing leptin levels in the body—leading to increased appetite and sugar cravings," he says.
Other variables, such as jet lag, drugs, and irregular work hours, might disrupt your circadian rhythm in addition to not getting enough sleep.
According to Jessica Tong, a licenced dietitian, "your metabolism changes throughout the day due to your circadian rhythm or natural body clock." For example, "Insulin sensitivity (important for fat loss) increases and melatonin levels decrease in the morning due to daylight, making you feel alert and invigorated. Meanwhile, melatonin levels rise, and insulin sensitivity falls in the evening, preparing your body for rest and cell repair," she adds.
Thus, if you were to have a cheat meal, but do not want what hits your lips to stay on your hips, it would make sense to have the meal in the first half of the day.
Aligning your mealtime with your circadian rhythm, according to experts, can help you lose weight, enhance endurance, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and lower your blood pressure, among other things.
Why does it appear that calories consumed in the morning are less fattening than calories consumed in the evening?
One reason is that diet-induced thermogenesis causes more calories to be expended in the morning.
If you feed people the same food in the morning, afternoon, and night, their bodies require around 25% more calories in the afternoon to absorb than at night and about 50% more calories in the morning to digest. This means fewer net calories are deposited as fat in the morning.
Is it scientific that we burn more calories in the morning?
Under simulated night or day shifts, Harvard researchers randomly assigned people to eat similar meals at 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. The calories burned in morning meals were 50 per cent higher than in the evening, regardless of activity level or sleeping cycle.
So, chronobiology explains the discrepancy; it's simply part of our circadian rhythms to burn more food calories in the morning.
Blood sugar levels climbed twice as high after the 8 p.m. meal in one research trial as they did after the same meal in the morning. As a result, shifting most of our calorie consumption to the morning appears to provide a two-fold benefit: more weight loss and better blood sugar control.
What is fasting based on the circadian cycle?
The sun cycle diet, also known as the circadian rhythm diet, encourages you to time your meals to coincide with the rising and fall of the sun and the related rises and falls in cortisol.
That's because cortisol impacts your thyroid hormones, influencing how your meal is processed. When cortisol levels rise in the morning, your metabolism kicks into high gear, allowing you to use the food you eat for energy efficiently. When cortisol levels drop later in the day, your metabolism slows down, making it more likely that the food you eat will be stored as fat.
Insulin plays a role in circadian rhythm fasting. Your body releases insulin in reaction to a rise in blood sugar after you eat, especially if the meal contains a lot of processed sugars and animal proteins.
According to a study published in Cell, spiking insulin levels during inconvenient times, such as when we consume a late-night meal, can disturb our circadian rhythm and increase our risk of long-term health issues like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
What are the benefits of the circadian cycle diet?
Sticking to an eating pattern that coincides with your natural hormone cycles and avoiding late-night insulin surges, on the other hand, can help lower your risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Other health benefits of the circadian rhythm diet include:
Improved metabolic efficiency
Inflammation is reduced.
Immune system improvement
When following the circadian rhythm diet, the available time for your meals is vital, but it's not the only factor to consider.
In addition to eating no later than 7 p.m., Felice Gersh, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician with experience in hormone management, suggests having breakfast within two hours of waking up and eating no more than three meals per day.
That entails no munching.
So much more to be written on this topic, but I sure hope it got you thinking about late- night munches.