Is When We Eat as Important as What We Eat?

meal time

“Half of the diseases that affect humans are worsened by obesity”

Today in the US, around 40% of adults are classed as obese. But auditorium, concert, cinema, and train seats didn’t use to be so big; the refits were ordered in the 80s when there was a massive human circumference shift, and the 15% of the American population which was obese from 1976 through 1980, was joined by another 25%. But it’s not just about seats: “coinciding with this increase in weight are ever-rising rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and health complications caused by obesity, such as hypertension. Even Alzheimer’s disease may be partly attributable to obesity and physical inactivity.” And this list is far from exhaustive…

We’ve Been Hardwired from the Get-Go

Unfortunately, thousands of years of evolution mean that as long as it’s available, we are hard-wired to eat as much food as we can. This is down to long ago when humans gathered and hunted food. At the time, they went through short periods of having a lot to eat, for example, after killing a wild animal, but this was often followed by fairly long periods of being without food. Further, we always looked for food during daylight hours, and rested in a shelter at night, because we were prey to large animals.

New Research Findings

“Using mice as study models, the researchers mimicked the 24/7 availability of a high-fat diet, & showed that anytime snacking eventually results in obesity & related health problems”

Recent research just published in the journal, Current Biology, indicates that: “the pleasure center of the brain that produces the chemical dopamine, and the brain’s separate biological clock that regulates daily physiological rhythms, are linked, and that high-calorie foods – which bring pleasure – disrupt normal feeding schedules, resulting in overconsumption.”

Along with his team, Ali Güler, a University of Virginia professor of biology, determined that the: “mice fed a diet comparable to a wild diet in calories and fats, maintained normal eating and exercise schedules and proper weight. But mice fed high-calorie diets laden with fats and sugars began “snacking” at all hours and became obese.” Yet, as many readers know, control isn’t always easy, especially when our biological and psychological functioning works against us.

It’s a Knockout

When the scientists disrupted the signaling of the so-called “knockout” mice, the latter no longer sought the satisfying delight of the high-fat diet. Indeed, even when: “presented with the 24/7 availability of high-calorie feeds, they maintained a normal eating schedule and did not become obese”. To that end, Güler remarked: “We’ve shown that dopamine signaling in the brain governs circadian biology and leads to consumption of energy-dense foods between meals and during odd hours.”

The Over Consumption

Deliberating on the diet of today, Güler remarked: “The calories of a full meal may now be packed into a small volume, such as a brownie or a super-size soda.” So it is easy to understand why people gain excessive weight, and over-consume calories, a dilemma which often culminates in a lifetime of health issues and obesity.

Deliberating on the diet of today, Güler remarked: “The calories of a full meal may now be packed into a small volume, such as a brownie or a super-size soda.” So it is easy to understand why people gain excessive weight, and over-consume calories, a dilemma which often culminates in a lifetime of health issues and obesity.

Shirley Amy is a Holistic Health Specialist and professional writer who’s published 4 books. Her  interests include optimum wellness, mental health, fitness, and positive lifestyle change. She holds University and College qualifications in the fields of Health Science, Nutrition, Mental Health, Fitness, Holistic Therapy and Aromatherapy.