Let's not rest on our laurels and get right stuck into it. Spoiler alert: Cutting your eating interval (period of time during the day where food/beverages are consumed) can improve sleep and translate to weight loss.
Here are 5+ things you need to know:
1. Your body clock is more like body clocks. New research finds "peripheral" clocks in internal organs are involved in glucose metabolism. These organs are tucked away where the sun don't shine, so it's not like they can rely on light/dark stimuli from the environment. Instead, they use the timing of food and fasting for regulation. Changes in the time food is eaten, or poor sleep can throw off metabolism. Did I mention these clocks are responsible for the expression of thousands of genes that regulate the 24 hour circadian cycle? Remember this for later.
2. Circadian gene expression impacts metabolic health and thus diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity.microbiome. This research shows the biome composition and activity are dynamic and demonstrate a diurnal (daily) pattern. The composition of the microbiome is known to play a role in disease pathogenesis, appetite control, feeding behaviour, and brain function and behaviour.
4. Several mouse studies have demonstrated:
- Mice with mutations in their "clock" gene become obese on their regular diet. They also:
- Develop signs of metabolic syndrome (high cholesterol, high blood glucose, lack of insulin)
- Sleep ~2 hours less than non-mutated mice
- Have disturbed eating patters (regular mice eat during their active period at night, mutated mice ate both during the day and night) - the equivalent of a human waking up and raiding the fridge overnight
- Had exacerbated weight gain when fed a high-fat diet
- Mice fed a high fat diet during the day (when they usually sleep) gained more weight than mice fed the same diet but at night during their normal active period (which is 12 hours)
- The research discovered that the central clock remained tuned to the 24 hour cycle, but the peripheral clocks in organs were out of sync (caused by eating at odd times and lack of sleep)
- This lack of sync lead to deranged metabolism, weight gain, and glucose intolerance (the start of a series of unfortunate events where type 2 diabetes is concerned)
5. Keeping your eating interval to 10-12 hours can lead to weight loss, improved sleep, and improved energy levels.A small pilot study took adults (with a BMI>25.0) whose eating interval exceeded 14 hours and had them limit their eating (including all non-water beverages) to a 10-12 hour period. The 16 week pilot intervention did not include suggestions of nutritional quality/quantity/calories. Results showed:
- An average weight loss of 3.3kg (7.3lbs)
- Participants reported significantly improved sleep satisfaction, hunger at bedtime, and energy levels
- Participants voluntarily continued the restricted eating interval unsupervised. At 36 weeks (1 year after the beginning of the intervention) participants had maintained their weight loss, improved sleep, and energy levels
- The shorter eating interval translated to an average calorie reduction of 20%
- Sleep in healthy people is disrupted by light pollution (from lights and devices) that emit the same wavelength as the sun
- Lack of sleep impacts glucose metabolism in healthy people (including children)
- This lack of sleep can decrease resting metabolism enough to cause weight gain of 12.5lbs in a year
- You can reset your insulin responsiveness and depressed metabolic rate after 9 days of recovery sleep
- Think about your usual eating interval, if it's more than 12 hours, reduce it to 12 hours
- Add more vegetables to your diet, whether it's including veggies with your snacks, lunch, dinner, breakfast, or all of the above (I like the latter option). Prepare a stool sample and call me in the morning!