A new study finds a link between circadian timing, food intake, and body-fat percentage.
It is a scientific fact that foods are at their peak level of deliciousness when consumed between 10 P.M. and 2 A.M. This is especially true when that food is a microwave pizza, which you prepare in the comfort of your own home and eat all in one sitting, too satisfied with the results of your handiwork to notice the attendant burns inflicted, once again, on the roof of your poor mouth. (It says right on the box to let it cool for three minutes before eating. You really should read the instructions more often.)
Unfortunately, it also may be a scientific fact that this practice is objectively terrible for you. In a recent study, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital asked 110 college-age participants to document what they ate and when they ate it. The results have grim implications for your fondness for late-night food trucks: The subjects with higher body-fat percentages and BMIs ate more calories in the hours closer to bedtime, when their melatonin levels were highest. Interestingly, the team did notnote a relationship between body-fat percentage and variables like calorie amount or meal nutritional content. (Hey, at least this means that that microwave pizza isn't much worse than your kitchen's more nutritious options.)
The research team hypothesizes that nighttime decreases in the thermic effect of food—which is the amount of energy expended in response to eating—might be to blame here. Previous studies have found lower TEF levels for the same snacks when eaten in the wee hours of the morning, instead of during late afternoon or even before bed. When you eat during your circadian cycle, it seems, is just as important as whatyou’re putting into your body in the first place.
There are some very obvious limitations to this research. Chief among them, of course, is the fact that the test subjects were college-age kids, a group that, as the authors generously put it, "may not be representative of the entire population in food choice or timing." But if anything, they add, this would just mean that those with earlier circadian timing (read: people who have jobs that don't allow them to go out five nights a week) might be even more vulnerable to packing on pounds via nighttime snacks, since that eating will necessarily occur closer to their earlier point of melatonin onset.
Late-night pizza has a place in all of our lives, but be judicious with how often you partake of it. It'll still be just as good if you save it for lunch tomorrow. (Or for the morning, for that matter. Breakfast of champions.)
Article Source : www.gq.com