Body clock is affected by what we eat and when

Diet has an impact on the body's circadian clock, research has found.
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01.Diet linked to circadian rhythms

Body clock affected by diet image of baby yawning

Scientists have discovered that food plays an important role in setting the body's circadian rhythm.

Japanese research published in the journal Cell Reports shows circadian rhythms can be manipulated with insulin, which is released by the pancreas in response to feeding.

According to the researchers, people with jet lag should eat a dinner enriched with ingredients promoting insulin secretion, such as high-GI carbohydrates, as this may help advance the circadian clock. Breakfast should be the opposite, made up of foods that inhibit insulin.

The findings suggest that clock adjustments through feeding might not work well in individuals with insulin resistance, such as those with type 2 diabetes. Also, there may be side effects related to the circadian clock when treating patients with insulin.

Travellers with jet-lag, teenagers who sleep until mid-afternoon, and sufferers of narcolepsy and insomnia already receive varying advice on how to re-set their body clocks by using light; for example, switching off electronic devices at night, using black-out curtains and waking at the same time every day. Soon, they may also be receiving advice on diet and mealtimes.

What is the circadian clock?

Our internal biological clock (or circadian clock) regulates the daily rhythm of many aspects of our behaviour and our biology, including sleep times, peak alertness, and the timing of some physiological processes, such as the release of certain hormones.

When our body clocks get too out of sync with environmental rhythms, we can experience reduced physiological performance and increased risk of disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, sleep disorders, and more.



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