Understanding Your Body’s Circadian Rhythm is the key to Weight Loss

Is there any connection between night time eating and fat loss? Like most other weight loss topics, this aspect too has been baffling dietitians and weight loss scientists. Some theories propose that night time eating (or rather overeating) has no relationship whatsoever to weight gain.

This theory proposes that the fundamental aspect of weight gain is the body’s calorie intake is greater than the calorie expenditure and ‘night time’ has nothing to do with it. Conflicting theories state that night time may lead to sedentary eating and there is a possibility that the digestion system of the body is slower during the night causing weight gain more rapidly than overeating during the day.

The exact reason, as usual is still a hot topic for discussion among dietitians and weight loss experts without any definite conclusion. Both theories are supported by research results from reputed laboratories/agencies so it is difficult to come to a definite conclusion. Probably the reason of this confusion is that every individual has a different weight loss/weight gain mechanism and it is not possible to have a general conclusion regarding the matter that applies evenly to all.

A balanced approach towards understanding the connection between night time eating and fat loss is to understand the circadian rhythm or the biological clock of the body. Also, the right type of night time eating should be classified. Does it mean, eating more at dinner or does it mean binge eating during the evening leading up to dinner? It may also refer to the situation when you regularly stay awake at night after dinner and keep on continuously munching something or other during the night.

Segregating night-eating into these three categories is essential because these all affect the circadian rhythm of the individual in different ways. The body’s natural biological clock takes cues from presence or absence of daylight to decide time for activity and time for rest. This is the most basic explanation of circadian rhythm.

What needs to be resolved is the confusion whether the body’s metabolism speed is slower during rest phase, assuming that you are taking rest at night and not awake. There are conflicting views regarding that as well. Some theories suggest that the body works actively even when we sleep because most of the muscle repair and digestion takes place during the night. Other theories suggest that since the body is not usually physically active during the night like the day, the metabolism rate is considerably lower.

Another study by a group of scientists exploring the connection between night time eating and fat loss showed that obesity disrupts the circadian rhythm considerably. Obese people are usually more prone to wake up at night and overeat. This study establishes the fact that understanding the mechanism of weight loss is related to understanding the mechanism of circadian rhythm in the body.

However, a general conclusion can be reached that overeating is not healthy whenever you eat, whether it’s night or day. It always adds up extra calories which the body finds difficult to shed and thereby it accumulates as fat deposits.