We’ve all heard of the ever-popular intermittent fasting diet, where you spend a significant portion of your day fasting and a shorter portion eating your meals. It allows for weight loss, increased energy, and reduced risk of chronic problems. It’s a diet that has actually been associated with many populations where a significant chunk of their citizens live past 100 years old. Well, there’s an additional way of timing your eating schedule so that those meals are in line with your body’s internal clock. This is called circadian rhythm fasting or the circadian rhythm diet. Your circadian rhythm is your internal clock. It regulates sleepfulness and wakefulness, among other things. We researched the said diet and broke it down for our readers. Keep reading for more!
What Is Circadian Rhythm Fasting?
Your circadian rhythm is run by your hypothalamus, an area that is super sensitive to light. Your body and brain get signals from the light and darkness on when to wake up, sleep, and even eat. Cortisol and melatonin. Cortisol is high in the morning, gets higher in the afternoon, and then drops at night. Melatonin does the opposite. It’s lowest in the morning and then gradually increases as the day goes on.
The circadian rhythm diet is a sun cycle diet. This is a version of intermittent fasting that encourages timing your meals with the rise and fall of the sun. So basically, your meals should align with when it’s light and dark outside. The differences between this and IF are not too dissimilar, but it’s akin to the older notion of not eating past 7 pm. The early bird special if you will. According to Forbes, this diet has a significant effect on your thyroid hormones, which affect the metabolism of the food you eat. When cortisol rises in the earlier hours, your metabolism is also up and running and you effectively use the food you eat as energy. When cortisol dips later in the day, your metabolism simultaneously slows down, which makes it more likely that your body will store the food you eat as fat.
According to the US National Library of Medicine,
“Circadian rhythm fasting also considers the role of insulin. When you eat, especially if you eat a meal that has a lot of carbohydrates, your body releases insulin in response to the rise in blood sugar. According to researchers from a study that was published in Cell in May 2019, if insulin rises at odd times—like when you eat a meal late at night—it can actually disrupt your circadian rhythm and increase your risk for long-term health problems, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Insulin also promotes the storage of body fat, especially if you eat too many carbohydrates or calories.”
The benefits of Circadian Rhythm Fasting
The benefits include weight loss, faster metabolism, increased energy, better digestion, reduced inflammation, and improved immune function. Because the circadian rhythm relies on a predictable schedule of your hormones, it’s important you stick to the light and the darkness. Artificial light, extended screen time, and a differing sleep schedule can affect the balance when trying to stay on track with your Circadian rhythm.
What To Know
So there are a few things you should know when starting this diet:
- Waking up between 5:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. each morning
- Eat within two hours of waking up
- Getting two to five minutes of sunlight first thing in the morning can reset the hypothalamus and help with better hormone regulation says MindBodyGreen
- Do not eat later than 7 pm
- No snacking
- Avoid processed foods
- Avoid too many carbs
- Go to bed between 9 pm and 11 pm
- Avoid phones, television before bed
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