Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Breaking News: Fat People Eat Instead of Sleeping

A new story making the rounds of the news feeds is about a study that claims a faulty circadian clock alters natural hunger cycles.

"Mice fed a high-fat diet experienced a sudden disturbance in their
circadian clocks, which caused them to overeat when they should have been
resting or asleep."

According to a more detailed article, the mice were fed a diet containing 45% fat for two weeks to create the disturbance of the body clock. There was no mention as to how they controlled for other nutrients (if half the calories are coming from fat, how nutrient-dense are the rest of them? Are the control mice getting more vitamins and minerals, and that's having an effect on the circadian?)

"The eating behavior of mice in the study mimicked that of people who experience munchies non-stop and then, after snacking all day, launch midnight raids on their refrigerators, Bass said."

Oh, right. I forgot. Fat people are fat because they eat ALL THE TIME, day and night, never pausing in the quest to stuff their face with baby flavored donuts and milkshakes made from kittens. How silly of me.

I really need to get a subscription to access studies beyond the abstract. I'd really, really like to know details that get handily left out by the media. What was the activity level of the mice? What were the total calories consumed by each group? Did they try a group of naturally fat mice as a control, or just overfeed a bunch of thin mice to make them temporarily fat (which would indeed mess seriously with their biological functions)? Did the researcher find out if the circadian is altered in mice that were born fat?

More importantly, why didn't I know that all fat people sleep badly? Gosh and Geburah, this could explain everything! Sleeping pills for everyone, lets cure this pesky epidemic.

*eye roll*


Anonymous said...

This **could** be why *some* are over weight. Case in point my FIL. OMG he was unhealthy fat (all belly fat) and it was because he would eat...all..the...time. He would sleep in his recliner and just munch on crap food all night long like chips, cookes, pudding...then the doctor told him he could not eat anything after 8 (he had a medical issue with his through and stomach) and a lot of his weight just melted off. He is still overweight...but he eats a lot healthier.

Now the downside.

My SIL and MIL are anorexic...but won't admit it. They saw my FIL losing so much weight just by not eating after 8 that now THEY won't eat after 8 or they might get "fat". My SIL is like a size 8...my MIL could probably shop in the juniors section and thinks that the skin you can pinch means she has more fat to lose. So now, not only does she skip lunch and only eats one egg for breakfast she won't eat past 8 because she will get fat and she may even "lose" weight. The kicker...she works nights and doesn't get home until after 9...so somehow she manages to live off of one egg a day (more or less...occasionally she might eat a half a turkey sandwich).

I have to wonder how many more ED's the machine is creating by hyping up the obesity thing??

OlderThanDirt said...

Hi from a librarian! I just checked and the Kalamazoo Public Librarian has a number of databases online, including MEDLINE. I don't know if you need a library card to access them (you do in our area) but you can always call the reference desk and ask for help. Another thing to do (in your spare time, HAH) is visit a college library that has open access. Our state university allows walk-ins to use any database onsite. Lots and lots of science articles totally misrepresented by the popular press!

JoGeek said...

Sandy: I'm sure the obesity hysteria, which leads to constant and young pressure to diet, is a pretty serious factor in ED numbers. Dieting behavior is said to be a trigger.

olderthandirt: Thanks for the tips! I'd have to check to see if WMU allows walk-in access; I know the community college doesn't. I do need to make it to the library more often. In the summer I walk up there a few times a week, but in the winter it gets dark too early. Plus, I think I have overdue fees I need to pay before I can use the computers (yes, this is my guilty look).

mumboj said...

I must admit I'm not sure what to make of this, maybe you're right they've left something out. I get that disruption of rhythms, triggered by the stress of lack of sleep-it could be quality of sleep over quantity- can itself trigger greater hunger for sweet carbohydrate rich foods, and possibly weight gain. What I don't get is why the higher fat diet caused a similar disruption, we are always hearing about the French paradox after all! Maybe the wine calms them down!

Marste said...

The problem I have with stuff like this is the sweeping generality of it all. What works for one doesn't work for all, etc.

Speaking for myself, I know I DO eat more when I don't sleep. Specifically I eat more sugar and white flour, because my body has no energy from sleep and it needs something to run on. Simple carbs are instant energy.

Having said that, it's really my own fault when I do that: I don't have insomnia - I just like late-night television, and I get up at 5:00am. LOL, last week I actually declared a moratorium on weeknight TV for just that reason. ;)

orodemniades said...

Heh, that explains why the last dietician I saw seemed perturbed by my sleeping habits. Cuz my standard 7 hours is making me SO FAT.

Of course, she also wanted me to double the amount of carbs I was eating despite me being borderline gestational diabetic...yeah, more carbs are really going to help with those blood sugars.


Krista said...

OK- I did a search at my university library and they don't carry Cell Metabolism. Medline does not have the Nov 2007 in the database yet- it only goes up to Oct 2007.

Feel free to ask me for any other studies you want to critique. My $8000 a year in tuition should be useful for something, right?

TanteTerri said...

baby flavored donuts and milkshakes made from kittens?


Tante Terri