Northwestern University researchers, however, recently discovered an additional drawback. High-fat diets can quickly cause changes to the body’s internal clock. This can have a negative impact on appetite regulation, leading to an increased risk of obesity and diabetes.
May 26, 2008
The study comprised two separate groups of mice that were kept in total darkness. Both groups ate normally for two weeks. After that time, one group continued with a normal diet. The other group ate a high-fat diet in which 45 percent of their calories came from fat.
The dark environment for the mice prevented light levels and other external cues from acting as regulators on their internal (circadian) clocks. The body’s circadian clock is responsible for transmitting time-related signals such as wakefulness, sleepiness and hunger. It is the sporadic regulation of the circadian clock that elevates the possibility of diabetes and obesity.
Researchers found that mice on a high-fat diet began to eat and sleep at irregular intervals, unlike the mice on a normal diet. The high-fat diet disturbed the circadian clock, resulting in excessive eating and potentially rapid weight gain. These changes occurred after only two weeks.
So, watch your fat intake, and eat and sleep on a regular schedule. Your body’s internal clock will run smoothly and you will be healthier for it.