The Next New Diet is Based on Circadian Rhythms

The Lempert Report
January 30, 2020

Researchers at Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory are finding evidence that Circadian Rhythm disruptions can influence diet and sleep and other areas of life,

Circadian rhythms, or internal clock, that follow a daily cycle are among the most common types of biological clock, as most organisms, including people, are active during the day and sleep at night. But other aspects of life can also oscillate throughout the day, including cognitive ability or even mood. 

Researchers at Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory are finding more and more evidence that disruptions to this timing can influence diet and sleep and lead to obesity, stress, metabolic disorder and possibly even cancer.

 “The circadian clock is the body’s internal timing system, which interacts with the timing of light and food to produce our daily rhythms,” says Salk’s Professor Panda.   

In the process of exploring how the liver’s daily cycles work, Panda found that mice which eat within a set amount of time (8-12 hours) resulted in slimmer, healthier mice than those who ate the same number of calories in a larger window of time, showing that when one eats may be as important as what one eats. If the benefits of this “time-restricted eating“ (TRE) hold true in humans, it could have profound impacts on treating overeating disorders, diabetes and obesity.

He studies the genes, molecules, and cells that keep the whole body on the same internal clock. His lab has discovered that nearly 80 percent of genes follow a circadian rhythm, and identified a pair of genes that help keep eating schedules in sync with daily sleep cycles. He often refers to the “discipline of the clock,” the fact that biological activity — such as the production of proteins that help process food — rises during an animal’s waking period and slows during its resting period.

Modern society offers access to food 24/7 now. Our changes in eating patterns affect how the body processes food and functions and may well be one of obesities biggest challenges.