A high-fat diet can disrupt circadian rhythm.

Following a high-fat diet may be a cause in messing with circadian rhythm, which contributes to obesity and diabetes development.

New research out of UC Irvine, published in the journal Cell has found that following a high-fat diet can throw off our internal clocks and, in turn, our metabolic rate. Research in the past has linked obesity and unhealthy sleep patterns, but most suggest that high-fat, high-calorie diets are a results of bad sleep schedules, not the other way around.

Circadian rhythm is what our body uses to make adaptations depending on the time of day and our metabolic rates, which fluctuate largely even within a day, are regulated by it. It’s also how we can feel when to go to sleep and wake up, as well as helping with other daily activities. It’s what causes jet lag on intercontinental flights because our bodies never evolved to travel tens of thousands of kilometers in a matter of hours.

A disruption in circadian rhythm can contribute to metabolic distress which over extended periods can cause diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, but it’s not hard to reverse the trend. Your internal clock will come back as quickly as it left by returning to a low-fat, healthy diet the study found.

Another interesting finding of the study was that a high-fat diet actually reprograms the liver, not obesity. Someone who follows a high-fat diet but remains thin can still break down food and calories similar to someone with obesity.

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