A High-fat Diet Could Not Only Harm Your Heart But Also Affect Your Body Clock!
Posted Aug 26 2008 11:26am
High-fat diets are definitely bad for your heart. Now, a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism on November 6, 2007 further indicated that they can also upset one's body clock by starting a chain reaction that interferes with many metabolic functions.
Body clock, or sometimes known as circadian rhythms, is the internal mechanisms that schedule periodic bodily functions and activities. The internal 24-hour clock is a feature common to plants, animals and humans. More information about body clock can be found atLiveScience.
The researchers believed that timing and metabolism evolved together and become almost a conjoined system. So, if the balance is disturbed, unfavourable effects may just occur. What they did in the study was to use 2 groups of mice: one on a regular diet while the other on a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 6 weeks.
After 2 weeks, the mice on the high-fat diet with 45 percent of their calories in the form of fat, showed a change in their normal pattern of activity-eating and rest-sleep rhythms. They began to eat during their typical rest or sleep period. The mice on regular diet, however, did not show this behavior at all.
Observations showed that the mice are eating more at regular meals and they actually shift their eating habits so that all excess food intake occurs during their normal rest period.
Besides behavioral changes, it was also found that levels of certain messenger molecules produced by genes that regulate circadian rhythms were depressed in the brain, liver and fat tissues of the mice on the high-fat diet.
As suggested by the study, the functioning of the body's internal 24-hour clock, which regulates our sleep/wake cycle and the timing of hunger pangs, is closely tied to the rhythms of certain metabolic processes. The saturated fat presented in the high-fat diet disrupt the body's clock or circadian rhythms by setting up a vicious circle that throws off the timing of certain metabolic processes thus increasing the risk for obesity and diabetes. This may subsequently increase the risk of heart disease.