A recent study made by the researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies proved that a hectic eating schedule can in fact make you gain weight and diabetic. The whole study started from the observations that shift workers, especially those that work at night, are more likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome.
The metabolic syndrome is a health problem that creates insulin resistance in people and pre-diabetic conditions. It also favors high cholesterol levels and gaining fat on the belly. A truly unpleasant health problem to have.
Researchers were intrigued to find out if by disrupting the circadian clock was the cause of the problem. The circadian clock is your internal clock that is set by light exposure. They were amazed to discover that the circadian clock had nothing to do with gaining weight if you were a night shift worker. The researchers also analyzed the possibility of constant snacking to stay awake as being responsible for gaining weight. This too was a dead end.
By doing research on mice, varying their eating schedule they were able to get to the root of the problem. What makes night shift workers gain weight and have an increased risk of diabetes isn’t working at night. What makes them gain weight is the fact that they have to work a day shift also. You see they don’t have a set eating schedule to which their body can get used. The study leader study’s leader Satchidananda Panda, Ph.D. said the following "We believe that it is not shift work per se that wreaks havoc with the body’s metabolism but changing shifts and weekends, when workers switch back to a regular day-night cycle,"
Your liver is your metabolic clearinghouse. It dictates how fast you burn calories or how much fat you store. Satchidananda Panda said "If feeding time determines the activity of a large number of genes completely independent of the circadian clock, when you eat and fast each day will have a huge impact on your metabolism".
By putting the mice on a strict schedule of feeding for a while the scientists were able to observe an increased activity on the part of the genes that control the enzymes that break down sugar after each meal. The mice were feed for 8 hours and were on a fast for 16 hours each day. During the 16 hour fasting period the researchers could measure an increased activity on the part of the genes that control the enzymes that break down fat.
Here is what Dr Panda said: "The liver oscillator in particular helps the organism to adapt to a daily pattern of food availability by temporally tuning the activity of thousands of genes regulating metabolism and physiology. This regulation is very important, since the absence of a robust circadian clock predisposes the organism to various metabolic dysfunctions and diseases."
The conclusion of the study is the more robust and set in stone eating schedule you have to more likely you are to lose weight and be healthy. You can try setting an interval of time in which you will eat and another in which you will fast. For example try eating only between 8 am and 8pm, and nothing after that. Dr Panda said he tried it and even lost some weight. In his words Dr Panda said "I even lost weight, although I eat whatever I want during the day". What more can you ask for? Just give it a try and write down in the comment below how it went.