According to the CDC, 78.6 million Americans, or over one third of our population, are struggling with obesity. With a plethora of diet plans, a myriad of fitness fads, and exercise machines designed to combat the bulge, how is it that so many people find it so difficult to burn fat or build muscle? While many factors contribute to your ability to rev up your metabolism and drop weight, it turns out that something as simple as the timing of your meals could be making or breaking your weight loss goals.
The Master Clock
It’s long been understood that we have a sort of “master clock,” known as the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), deep in our brains that help our bodies to maintain a roughly 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, called the circadian clock. New research shows that each of our organs contain cells with their own circadian clock genes that organize bodily processes, such as digestion, to operate with maximum efficiency at specific times of day. What does that mean for you?
The Circadian Secret
It turns out that the “clock genes” have a particularly strong influence on your metabolism, how your body handles fats and sugars, and also the appetite regulation center of your brain, which could contribute to obesity. In a Spanish study published in the International Journal of Obesity, it’s suggested that it’s not best to eat too many calories too late in the day. The study found that “dieters who ate their main meal before 3pm lost significantly more weight (22lbs. vs. 17lbs.) than those who ate a larger meal later in the day,” despite both groups eating roughly the same amount of calories. “The study suggests that it’s not just what we eat but when we eat is important,” says study author Frank Scheer, who directs the Medical Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
The findings further built on a 2005 study lead by Fred Turek, a biology sciences professor and director of Northwestern University’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology, which demonstrated that mice with a mutation to a clock gene in the brain’s SCN had a disrupted feeding pattern:
· The mice ate more at all hours of the day, not just in the evening when they were typically awake.
· These mutant mice were obese and had a number of metabolic problems, including high cholesterol and high blood sugar.
Because eating seems to send a signal to our body clocks, it’s possible that the circadian clock in the brain gets out of sync with the mini clocks in the cells of the body that regulate metabolism, leading to being overweight and a host of diseases like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Is it Time for You to Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals?
Atlanta Medical offers a clinically developed program considering three major components: Medical, Nutritional, and Physical. If you’re struggling with obesity and are seeking a proven, natural way to work with your body to reach your weight loss goals, don’t hesitate to contact us today for your free consultation.