Understanding energy burn: the link between weight and daily rhythms

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Day and Night: How Weight Affects Energy Use

New research from Oregon Health & Science University, published in the journal Obesity, reveals a fascinating connection between a person’s weight and when their body burns energy.

The study found that people with a healthy weight tend to use more energy during the day when they are active and eating.

In contrast, individuals with obesity were found to expend more energy at night, typically a time for sleep. This difference in energy expenditure could have significant implications for understanding obesity.

Obesity and Insulin: A Daytime Challenge

Another key finding of the study relates to insulin levels, a hormone crucial for managing glucose, a primary energy source.

People with obesity showed higher insulin levels during the day, indicating their bodies work harder to utilize glucose.

This pattern contrasts with those who have a healthy weight, suggesting a complex relationship between weight, energy usage, and hormonal regulation.

Obesity, defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more, is known to increase the risk of conditions like high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, making these findings particularly relevant for health.

Studying Body Rhythms and Future Research

The study, led by Dr. Andrew McHill and Dr. Steven A. Shea, was conducted in a controlled circadian research lab, where 30 volunteers participated in a six-day study.

The rigorous protocol involved altering sleep and wake times to investigate how circadian rhythms affect energy metabolism.

Participants underwent various tests, including exercising with a mask connected to an indirect calorimeter to measure energy use and blood tests to monitor glucose levels.

The findings suggest that our internal clocks, which regulate many physiological processes, may play a role in how our bodies process energy differently depending on weight.

The research team plans to further investigate eating habits and hunger in both obese individuals and those with a healthy weight.

This future study will build on previous research, including a 2013 study by Shea, which found that natural circadian rhythms tend to increase food cravings at night.

Understanding these patterns could be key to developing more effective strategies for managing weight and improving overall health.

If you care about weight loss, please read studies that hop extract could reduce belly fat in overweight people, and early time-restricted eating could help lose weight .

For more information about weight loss, please see recent studies that Mediterranean diet can reduce belly fat much better, and Keto diet could help control body weight and blood sugar in diabetes.

The research findings can be found in Obesity.

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