Disturb Your Biological Clock and Become Obese
Also called the body clock, our biological clock is defined as, “an innate mechanism of the body that regulates its rhythmic and periodic cycles, such as sleeping and waking.” A biological clock ticks within every living organism. This internal mechanism keeps track of all our activities on an hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly basis. It is now known that globalization and corporate lifestyles have completely disturbed the natural function of the biological clock. Along with this disturbance comes many health implications. One of such health concerns, according to new research studies, is that people with a disturbed biological clock are prone to obesity and its related health complications.
New Research related to the Biological Clock
According to the research conducted by Dr. Fred Turek and his colleagues at the Northwestern University, you can gain considerable amounts of weight if your biological clock is out of sync. This research was supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). In this study, there relationship between meal timing and body weight was thoroughly examined by the scientists. The experiment lasted around six weeks and was conducted on laboratory mice. These mice were divided into two groups. One group remained active during the first 12 hours of waking and the other group rested during that time. When the second group was active, the first group took a rest. During their feeding period, the mice were allowed to eat a high-fat diet but had to fast for the remaining 12 hours of the day. Both of these groups had equal calorie consumption and did equal amounts of activity for the six-week experimental period. The researchers found that the mice that ate during the sleeping time actually gained 48% weight, whereas the mice that ate during the right time and slept normally only had a 20% rise in their weight. Further studies are required to examine this mechanism, the study concluded.
Why do we have Biological Clocks?
Many have theorized that biological clocks are directly related to evolution. Animals are said to have developed biological clocks in order to help their species survive. These body clocks discourage activity during darkness when we are most vulnerable to predators because of our reduced vision. If a person’s biological clock runs fast, he will tend to get sleepy early in the evening, but will be able to wake up early in the morning without difficulty. Exposure to this day-night cycle of the outside world allows us to reset our biological clock each day.
Obesity and the Biological Clock
A team of researchers led by Dr. Till Roenneberg of the LMU Research Team found that social jetlag contributes to the growing health problem of the Western lifestyle – obesity. People who are overweight are more at risk for such serious metabolic conditions as diabetes. For persons who get too little sleep, the perception of hunger tends to be disconcerted, often leading to overeating. It is not just the sleep duration that is important to consider. The LMU team also found that too little sleep is associated with an increase in the body-mass index (BMI). This study results indicate that our lifestyle conflicts with our internal physiological rhythms and this in turn can promote the development of obesity.