Oh, no, you’re thinking—another tedious, scolding holiday “science of overeating” story. Not so! You can eat what you want—even overindulge—as long as you don’t make a habit of it, and most important, don’t make that habit interfere with normal mealtimes.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that our body’s food clock, a network of genes and proteins, works to maintain an even metabolic balance even when we are up at odd hours, jet lagged from crossing multiple time zones, or just eating after midnight. At the center of this food clock is a protein called PKC-gamma, whose job it is to reset the food clock after a change in eating habits.
Mice lacking the PKC-gamma gene could not adjust their food clocks to a new feeding schedule, while mice with the gene could adjust and stay away for feeding, no matter the hour.
The study helps provide a molecular basis for such diseases as diabetes, obesity and other metabolic disorders—a non-working food clock may help trigger these diseases. For one thing, it may help us understand why people who stay up late and sleep in tend to be fatter than early risers.
So, reach for that second helping. Just don’t wait until 2 a.m.
Source: Science Daily
Photo: Matthew Kenwrick, Fotopedia
Zhang, L., et al. (2012). PKC participates in food entrainment by regulating BMAL1 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109 (50), 20679-20684 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1218699110