Does Matching the Timing of Eating with Your 'Body Clock' Impact Health?
When most of us think about a healthy diet, limiting sugar intake and moderate portion sizes come to mind. But along with food choices, when you eat might be as important as what you eat. Aligning your eating habits to your body clock or circadian rhythm may be a powerful strategy for losing weight and improving overall health.
There is a growing amount of research that supports the idea of fasting as it shows to promote weight loss goals and boost the immune system while improving overall fitness. Circadian fasting also shows to decrease the risk of metabolic diseases (the way your body makes energy from the food you eat).
Origins: What is Circadian Rhythm? (The Body Clock)
Circadian rhythm is the natural cycle of physical, mental and behavior changes to the body in a 24-hour period.
It affects sleep, body temperature, hormones, appetite and body functions. Your circadian rhythm is impacted mostly by light and dark. Abnormal circadian rhythm may be linked to obesity, diabetes, depression, insomnia and accelerated life span.
The most critical factor in setting our internal clock is natural sunlight. However, with technology, many of us are throwing off our circadian rhythm and delaying melatonin production by the use of artificial lighting, particularly the light from our phones and tablets.
The delay in melatonin production can lead to difficulty falling asleep and eventually impact our health.
Pro tip: This won’t make the problem go completely away, but use the night mode setting on your devices and consider buying a pair of blue light glasses.
How Do You Do the Circadian Rhythm Fast?
Each one of the trillions of cells in our bodies has a tiny internal clock. This clock is how we know when to eat, when to sleep and how many calories to burn.
The timing of our eating communicates the timing info to all of the cells in our body. When the timing of this internal clock is thrown off, it can wreak havoc on our bodies.
As our circadian clock interacts with nutrient-sensing pathways, it is continuously giving cells commands.
The goal of circadian fasting is aligning intermittent fasting with your circadian rhythm. Intermittent fasting consists of eating between an 8-10 hour window during daylight hours, leaving your body with a 14-16 hour window to fast.
Fasting for a set amount of time gives your body a break from digesting food and allows cells time to rest and heal.
Also, eating earlier in the day shows to be in sync with circadian rhythm as it was with our ancestors. In a Harvard Study, calories are better metabolized in the morning than in the evening. And those who ate earlier in the day appeared to lose weight faster than late eaters.
Researchers concluded that synchronizing mealtimes with circadian rhythms leads to more weight loss and reduced insulin levels as compared to eating the same foods without a schedule.
There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is effective,” said metabolic expert Dr. Deborah Wexler, Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. She also suggests that people “use an eating approach that works for them and is sustainable to them.”
In another study by Washington University, researchers discovered an immune cell that sets the clock for the gut. This discovery led researchers to believe why circadian rhythm disruptions such as late nights and shift work are linked to gastrointestinal problems as well as colon cancer and obesity.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that works with your circadian rhythm. The body begins to produce melatonin a few hours before bedtime. Eating later in the evening disrupts melatonin production. One way to support melatonin production is with Havasu's Night-Time Fat Burner, with its rest and reset blend.
What are the Benefits of Circadian Fasting?
Research shows that Circadian Fast can lead to...
- Losing weight
- Lowering blood pressure
- Lowering cholesterol and a reduction in lipid levels
- Reducing inflammation
- Lowering heart rate
- Improving body composition
- Reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Better sleep
- Living Longer
While the idea of fasting seems overwhelming and isn't right for everyone, making simple changes to your eating schedule can greatly impact overall health. Doing little things such as not eating right before bed and eating your biggest meal earlier in the day can help you achieve your overall health goals. Before deciding if circadian fasting is right for you, first talk with your doctor and decide which type of diet is best for you.