A recent article published in the Science Daily (October 11, 2010), noted that “Persistent exposure to light at night may lead to weight gain, even without changing physical activity or eating more food, according to new research in mice.”
A follow-up study found that those “mice exposed to light at night but that had food availability restricted to normal eating times [WHEN THEY WERE ACTIVE] gained no more weight than did mice in a normal light-dark cycle.”
This may seem like a new discovery to assist people in their efforts to lose weight and maintain weight. However, over the years, we have observed that many night shift workers have difficulty with weight gain, just like the mice. This includes many of the medical persons who work night shifts at their hospitals.
At NBH Lifetime Health, we have consistently advised our night shift clients to blacken their rooms to make it as dark as possible when they sleep. We have also advised those clients who do not work at night, to turn off all lights in their bedrooms and ensure that no light from the outside is shining into their bedrooms. TURN OFF THE NIGHT LIGHT TV!
Conclusion: One way to avoid weight gain if you work the night shift (like many medical persons) is to eat at normal times, that is, when you are active.
Melatonin: There are other factors at work here besides the timing of your eating, including the effects of the hormone Melatonin. This hormone is designed to increase at night and decrease with light. When it is high, Melatonin helps ensure your deep sleep. As we age, this is one of many hormones that decrease. When Melatonin is low (exposed to light), it helps you wake up and stay awake. This is a reason to expose yourself to natural sunlight and perhaps take Melatonin at night (or day if you work night in a darkened room).
Timing of Eating: At our clinics, we also recommend that you not only you eat at those times when your body is still active, but if you work days, eat early in the evening, preferably so there are at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. If you must have a late night snack (for example to maintain glucose control), eat a small portion of protein
NBH Lifetime Health Weight Loss & Hormone Clinics, Medline South
It is always important to be health minded but during the holidays, it is even more important because of the many temptations. These include sweets, alcohol, partying, stress, and even depression. The following are some tips to stay healthy during the holidays and during the rest of the year.
1. Eat tomatoes. This healthy food can decrease your risk of arterial aging, heart disease, stroke, memory loss, impotence and wrinkling of the skin. Tomato-based products contain lycopene, which has been shown to fight cancer. Sugar free tomato sauce packs a punch. Cooked tomatoes may be even healthier. Add some olive oil to cooked tomatoes.
2. Eat walnuts and almonds. These are great sources of omega 3’s which are heart healthy. So are hazelnuts and avocados. If you have to eat sweets, first eat the nuts (we say a handful not a can full) as this slows down the glycemic response. The fat in the nuts will slow your stomach and help your body process the sugar. Keep nuts refrigerated so they don’t oxidize.
3. Eat fish. Salmon, tilapia, cod, flounder, cod and mahi-mahi, if wild caught, are some of the best. Wild salmon is a great source of protein and omega-3s, Both are important for a healthy heart and a reduced abdomen! We recommend that you eat a serving of these fish three times a week or more.
4. Drink water. Drink ½ of your body weight in ounces of water of each day. Purchase a 64 ounce container to ensure you drink at least this much. We recommend you add a full squeezed lemon to an 8 ounce glass of water each day to cleanse your liver. Proper hydration gives you energy, acts as a natural cleanser and makes your skin healthier with fewer wrinkles (assuming you do no smoke). Water hydrates your skin. Be vigilant of dehyration when traveling by airplane.
5. Drink red wine. If you drink alcohol, try red wine. It contains reveritrol, which is a very strong antioxidant. It also has a relaxing effect and can help open blood vessels. The key is moderation. Remember that alcohol is dessert (sugar).
6. Cinnamon’s Secret Health Benefit/ cinnamon (© Eating Well Inc.) Eat cinnamon. During the holidays, there are “treats” that contain cinnamon. These include spiced cider, pumpkin bread and others. The good news is that the cinnamon in these treats help regulate your blood-glucose levels. Eating the cinnamon slows the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine (a part of digestion called “gastric emptying”). When food enters the intestine more slowly, carbohydrates are broken down slower. Also, the cinnamon also increases a person’s insulin sensitivity. This is the ability of cells to respond to insulin’s signal to move glucose out of the blood.
7. Take a Magnesium Supplement. “Men with with the highest blood levels of magnesium are 40 percent less likely to die of any cause than those with the lowest levels.” Magnesium can help lower blood pressure in both MEN and WOMEN. It also helps with constipation and has a relaxing effect (lowers the stress hormone cortisol. Add 250 to 500 mg of a pharmaceutical grade magnesium.
8. Burn Calories Through Exercise. We recommend a daily exercise routine that burns at least 200 calories each day. The goal is to burn 500 calories per day but even a lesser amount is beneficial. A minimum of 1000 calories per week has been shown to help prevent the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue the dangerous belly fat that causes arterial inflammation and hypertension.