Does the circadian diet work?
We're not sure, would you try it?
So many diets, it's hard to keep up. Atkins, cabbage soup, Dukan, baby food...the list goes on. Most target calories, exclusively, or restriction of food groups specifically. It's all a bit gobbledygook, really.
So what's this Circadian diet then?
Well, it doesn't focus so much on what you eat, but rather when. The circadian rhythm is basically your physiological sleep-wake cycle. It varies from day to day and happens because your body responds to the sun. The diet tries to replicate that by having you only eat when the sun is up and leaving at least 12 hours between your last meal at night and your first meal the next day.
It also turns the order of things on its head. It's thought that calories you eat in the morning are more easily burned off than at night so, you'll be having heavier, more calorific meals in the morning and should have had the majority of your day's food by mid-day. Dinner has to happen before sundown and it will be the lightest meal of the day.
We are thinking lasagne for breakfast and cereal for dinner! Weird? Maybe a little, but could this actually work?
The circadian rhythm was long thought of as just the instinctual thing that told you to go to bed and makes night shift such a pain in the butt. Research has shown though, that those with disrupted rhythms have problems with their gut, like IBS, and were more prone to obesity and certain cancers of the GI tract as a result of knocking your guts immune system out of kilter.
It's thought that eating in sync with a well established circadian rhythm could reduce your risk of these, as well as improving your cardiovascular health and energy levels.
So if the weight loss is there and these health benefits are real, then this sounds like a great option, right? Maybe not for everyone.
For those who are at work before the sun comes up, it sounds very difficult to stick to and if you're not a big breakfast person, you'll have to cram everything in over lunch, which sounds like a recipe for a big afternoon nap to me! Also, does anyone actually have a healthy sleep-wake cycle??!