Monday, December 29, 2008

High Fat Diets Affect Your Biological Clock

Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers have shown that indulgence in a high-fat diet can not only lead to obesity because of excessive calorie intake, but it can also affect the balance of your circadian rhythms – an important 24-hour biological clock.

This biological clock regulates the expression and/or activity of enzymes and hormones involved in metabolism. Because of this, any disturbance of the clock can lead to such phenomena as hormone imbalance, obesity, psychological disorders, sleep disorders and even cancer.

Light remains the strongest factor affecting the circadian clock. However, Dr. Oren Froy and his colleagues in Rehovot, Israel, have demonstrated in their experiments with laboratory mice that there is a cause-and-effect relation between diet and biological clock imbalance as well -- and, its a strong one.

The researchers fed mice either a low-fat or a high-fat diet, followed by a fasting day, then measured components of the metabolic pathway at various levels of activity. In an article soon to be published by the journal Endocrinology, the researchers suggest that this high-fat diet could contribute to obesity, not only through its high caloric content, but also by disrupting the phases and daily rhythm of clock genes. They contend also that high fat-induced changes in the clock and its signaling pathway may help explain the disruption of other clock-controlled systems associated with metabolic disorders, such as blood pressure levels and the sleep/wake cycle.

Just another good reason to avoid the high-fat diet.



Anonymous said...

Alaskan Eskimos eat a high fat diet. Is there any evidence that their biological clocks are affected?

Dave Jensen said...

That is an exceptional comment . . . I'm not certain but with a bit of research we ought to be able to find out.