People with obesity burn less energy during day

Recent studies show that body weight affects when and how the body burns energy.

People with a healthy weight use more energy during the day, when most people are active and eating, while those who are obese use more energy at night, when most people sleep, according to a study from Oregon Health & Science University that was published in the journal Obesity. The study also discovered that people who are obese have higher levels of the hormone insulin during the day, which indicates that their bodies are using glucose, a sugar high in energy, more efficiently.

The timing of when our bodies burn energy differed dramatically in those with obesity, which surprised us, according to Andrew McHill, Ph.D., the study’s first author and assistant professor at the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and the OHSU School of Nursing. But we’re not exactly sure why. Reducing energy expenditure during the day may either be a cause or an effect of obesity.

A body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher is considered obese. Obesity and excess weight raise the risk of developing diseases like Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

A body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher is considered obese. Obesity and excess weight raise the risk of developing diseases like Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Schedules, including when people eat, sleep, and exercise, can also have an impact on health by supporting or contradicting the body’s normal, daily rhythms. People go through a lot of changes every 24 hours, which are brought on by the body’s internal clock. These adjustments typically take place at specific times of the day to best meet the needs of the body at any given moment.

McHill and the senior author of the study, Steven A. Shea, Ph.D., who is also the director of OHSU’s Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, concentrate their research on the physiological effects of sleep and circadian rhythms. The OHSU Sleep, Chronobiology and Health Laboratory is headed by McHill.

Although prior studies have indicated that energy metabolism and glucose regulation are impacted by circadian rhythm misalignment, the majority of the subjects in those studies were healthy weight individuals. In order to investigate this further, McHill, Shea, and associates planned a study with participants of various body types.

Thirty volunteers in total agreed to take part in the study, which required participants to spend six days in a specially constructed circadian research lab. The study adhered to a strict circadian research protocol, which included a timetable that was intended to cause participants to wake and sleep at various times during the day.

Each day, volunteers were awakened after their sleep periods to eat and take part in a range of tests for the remainder of the day. In one experiment, subjects worked out while donning a mask that was attached to an indirect calorimeter—a device that detects carbon dioxide exhaled and aids in estimating energy consumption. In order to gauge glucose levels in response to a daily meal that was the same, blood samples were also taken.

Subsequently, the research team intends to investigate eating behaviors and hunger in individuals with obesity and individuals with a healthy weight. Additionally, Shea’s 2013 study, which found that circadian clocks naturally increase food cravings at night, will be followed up on by this new investigation.

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