Meal Timing Activates Fat-Burning Genes
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist Byron J. Richards,
I read with a smile a Nov 26 press release titled “When You Eat May Be Just as Vital to Your Health as What You Eat1.” This is a primary message of the Leptin Diet and a point I have been making since writing Mastering Leptin in 2002. It is nice to see a never-ending stream of science supporting the principles I outlined 7 years ago.
It has long been believed that the activation of metabolic genes are set according to a circadian (24 hour) pattern and not related to when you eat. A new study by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies turns this belief on its head. Their experiments revealed that the daily waxing and waning of thousands of genes in the liver—your body’s metabolic factory—is mostly controlled by food intake and not by the body’s circadian clock as conventional wisdom had it.
“Our study represents a seminal shift in how we think about circadian cycles,” says the study’s leader Satchin Panda, Ph.D. “The circadian clock is no longer the sole driver of rhythms in gene function, instead the phase and amplitude of rhythmic gene function in the liver is determined by feeding and fasting periods—the more defined they are, the more robust the oscillations become.”
Simply put, this study proves that when you eat will have a huge impact on your metabolism. Panda points out that the activity of fat-burning genes is highest when you haven’t eaten for a while. Thus, extending time between meals and not eating after dinner actually turns on liver genes that enhance your ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
It’s not just the calories. Timing is of major importance to metabolism.
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