Binge watching television shows late at night while eating junk food is something our generation think is cool. #latenightmunchies and #latemightmaggie can often be seen doing the rounds on social media, but if you look closely, most of these night owls are, more often than not, fat. If not all, then a large majority of them are. Who gets fatter- night owls or early risers? This debate is never ending. We decided to look at the problem and figure out the answers to this question.
For decades, nutritionists and trainers have argued and hypothesised on whether weight loss and gain is all about calories in versus calories out or are there other factors that come into play. While two groups of people eat the same number of calories, the group that eats more protein tends to lose more fat and stay leaner over the years. Also, even if the daily calories consumed are the same, people who eat certain nutrients before and after training get better results. This is not only proven by researches but is also pretty visible if you do it yourself. The IIFYM diet is also a failure in this context as the source of the calories matter a lot. Hence it’s very clear that it’s not all about cals in versus cals out.
In simple words, a Circadian Rhythm is your body’s natural clock. It tells the body when to eat, sleep, move and just function like how we normally function. Of course, it’s hugely affected by environmental factors and the habits we develop over time. Most crucially, important hormones in the body, including growth hormone, cortisol and parathyroid hormone are secreted in a circadian rhythm cycle. Now, the factors in question are ‘eating’ and ‘sleeping’. In a pre-agriculture and artificial light era, it was believed that hunters and gatherers only ate during daylight. Just because there was no light at night they couldn’t see food and hence, didn’t eat at night. Unlike nocturnal animals, who have circadian rhythms suited to eating at night, humans don’t posses this ability. This is embedded in our genetic structure. Our circadian rhythm is pre-programmed to make you sleep at night. Later sleepers resist this call, stay awake and hence, directly affect the circadian rhythm.
Night Owls, Beware. Your Sleeping Habit Is The Reason Why Your Weight Is Increasing At This Pace.
Early risers have their circadian rhythm in place. They eat when they feel hungry and rarely indulge in emotional eating. Night Owls, on the other hand, have their priorities out of whack. In the mornings, night owls generally ate less protein and more sugar, and in the evenings (after 8 PM) they consumed less protein and more high-fat foods. More or less, their eating was driven by emotion and taste rather than hunger. Hence, lifestyle does play a major role in weight gain and it’s not all about cals in versus cals out.
(This report was published in MensXP)