Did you know your fat tissue has a built-in clock?
In fact, the majority of cells in your body run on a 24-hour schedule, Scheer says.
The combination of all these body clocks is called the circadian system, and it’s controlled by a group of cells in your brain’s hypothalamus. But the “clocks” in individual organs’ cells can be altered by daily activity that doesn’t affect the control center.
For instance, researchers have found that feeding animals during abnormal times can “reset” the clocks in their liver and pancreas, which are key to optimizing metabolism. When this happens, the brain’s central clock remains on schedule. This can result in a de-synchronization between the two.
“That then could lead to abnormal weight gain or a decrease in weight loss,” Scheer says.
Part of this could be due to the body’s ability to handle glucose, the type of sugar that usually comes from carbohydrates. Late eaters in the study showed significantly higher HOMA levels, an index of insulin resistance that’s used to identify diabetes.
Your system is better able to cope with higher glucose levels in the morning, Scheer says, extracting sugar from the blood to use as energy. “The same meal load later in the day would not be received as well.”