When You Eat May Be Just As Important As What You Eat


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Can you lose weight by simply avoiding nighttime snacks? Image by crystala

Metabolic Cycles and Eating on a 24 Hour Clock

Eating throughout the day and night can disrupt your normal metabolic cycles.  As Dr. Panda tells us, “First of all, Just like our brain has to rest and rejuvenate while sleeping, all organs need to “sleep”.  For example, the gut repairs itself in night and eating in night disrupts the process.

Second, hormones such as insulin that respond to eating and adjust blood sugar, are less responsive to food signal at night. Similarly hormones that signal hunger and turn on glucose production from stored nutrients are less responsive during the day. By eating throughout day and night we do not use our hormone signals efficiently.

Third, under normal condition (unless some one does fat burning exercises) we dont burn fat during the eating hours. Similarly we dont breakdown cholesterol. Only after few hours of fasting the fat burning and cholesterol breaking enzymes become active.

Finally, the internal clock that times metabolism  to right time of the day is reset every time we eat, so continuous eating confuses the clock and our metabolism does not go efficiently.”

Effects of Current Human Eating Patterns

We know that eating the way we do, nearly around-the-clock, has some effect on our bodies. How much do these eating patterns affect us? According to Dr. Panda, “Since most of the lifestyle intervention studies were first successfully tested in rodents, we are very hopeful that one day this will translate into humans. Besides, we are designed and wired for overnight fasting. For millions of years humans were strictly diurnal species eating most of their food during the day. Only in the last 50 years we have began to spend 6-7 h awake at night and eating for up to 14-16 h a day. So, we think overnight fasting is a natural way our body deals with energy consumption, storage and retrieval. We are on our way to test this in human.”

Better Weight Loss: No Side Effects

How much impact can fasting at night have on weight loss? More than the best weight loss drugs available, and without all the scary side effects of the medication! Dr. Panda tells us that, “the best weight loss drug in market prevents weight gain by 12% and gives several adverse effects, the fasting protocol without reducing caloric intake prevented weight gain by 28% with no side effect. Besides, the extent of reduction in basal blood glucose, cholesterol, inflammation, fat deposits seen in these animals can only partly be achieved with at least 4-5 different medications each of which comes with its own bag of side effects. So, the feeding fasting cycle is essentially equivalent to taking 4-6 different medications.”

Click to Read Page Three: Preventing Obesity

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