The Journal of Cell Metabolism published a study enumerating the connection between your body clock and eating behavior. The researchers of the study revealed that timing is crucial to metabolism. Controlling the times one eats can help resolve a number of metabolic issues including obesity.
The researchers observed the diets of lab mice with disrupted circadian clocks. They explained that regulating the eating times in the mice helped improved obesity and related metabolic problems.
The respective research has come up with an interesting fact that there is a connection between the eating behavior of an individual and its circadian clock.
For the study, the scientists employed three different strains of mice with disrupted circadian clocks. They knocked out the specific genes regulating the internal timing.
The mice, employed for the study, were fed with the same calorie content, even if some of them were given an unhealthy diet. Some of the mice could eat food whenever they wanted. However, the others could only eat for a restricted nine- to 10-hour time window. The total calorie intake was the same for both, the mice with normal or disrupted clocks.
Dr. Satchidananda Panda, the senior author of the study and a professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute, demonstrated the findings of the study to be a very surprising and unexpected one. He explained that the research serves as evidence to the previously believed fact that the circadian clock had a direct impact on maintaining a healthy metabolism.
He further added that the main role of the circadian clock is to produce daily eating-fasting rhythms and most of the metabolic diseases are a result of interrupted eating behavior.
Your circadian clock effects metabolism
The daily cycles of light and dark, governed by the sun, affect various corporal functions. Added with these cycles, other environmental factors such as humidity and temperature also regulate various processes in the human body including,
- Blood pressure
- Melatonin (the sleep hormone)
- Body temperature
Earlier studies have determined that an intact circadian clock tells the subjects when to eat, such as when the mice have access to healthy food. However, the results from this study reveal that defective circadian clocks tend to disrupt the eating patterns. These interrupted patterns led the mice to develop signs of metabolic diseases, even when they were fed with healthy food only.
Separate studies had verified that when normal mice had open access to fat-and-sugar-rich food, the bad diet annulled their circadian clock. In turn, the mice ate at random and developed metabolic diseases. The researchers restricted the timing of the mice when they were allowed to eat. Surprisingly, this reversed the negative impacts of the unhealthy diet.
The researchers measured factors such as glucose levels, high cholesterol, and stamina on a treadmill after eight- to 12-hours. This time-restricted feeding promoted healthy rhythm in circadian clock mechanism.
Dr. Panda added that healthy, robust cycling of circadian clock function is crucial to prevent metabolic diseases. Furthermore, the researchers noted that limiting the time of feeding, for the metabolic parameters examined, helped prevent the health decline regardless of the deficiency of a normal circadian clock.
The researchers are looking for ways to apply the findings to human studies. Dr. Panda concluded that with the growing age, an individual may lose their clocks. However, this study determines new ways to manage irrational eating in people with disturbed circadian clocks.