“The Danger of Being an Owl” — sounds scary, right?

^^^ from a recent Vox article. It’s brief, and relatively in line with what I’ve slowly come to think is true about chronotypes. That is, they’re a species-level property. For example, there are morning larks and night owls. There aren’t morning owls.

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Virtually every human study on chronotypes is remarkably consistent: humans aren’t a night-species.

Evening chronotype is associated with changes in eating behavior, more sleep apnea, and increased stress hormones in short sleeping obese individuals (Lucassen et al., 2013)

They basically put all of the results in the title lol. People who stayed up late and skipped or delayed breakfast had higher stress hormones, lower HDL, and were of generally poorer health.

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Artificial light at night: effects on cardiovascular disease

There is now increasing evidence that exposure to artificial light in the evening and at night increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (Moore-Ede, 2018). Because most “energy efficient” LED light are rich in blue wavelengths, the use of these lights can trigger disease processes involved in hypertension, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease.

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Circadian disruption, melatonin suppression & phase shifting, and activation of chronic inflammatory pathways.

 

 

Sunlight during the day is protective; artificial light at night is harmful. Blue light filters on your smart devices and hot blue blockers on your face are protective.

As always, the effects are most pronounced in actual shift workers who see 20-40% increases in risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and coronary artery disease…

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Artificial light at night: effects on breast & prostate cancer

There is now substantial evidence that exposure to artificial light at night (ALAN) increases the risk of breast and prostate cancer (Moore-Ede, 2018).

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MOA of ALAN: circadian disruption & phase shifting, melatonin-suppression, and accelerated unsuppressed tumor growth.

 

 

Sunlight during the day is protective. Artificial light at night is harmful.

ALAN-induced melatonin-suppression and circadian disruption increases the risk for certain endocrine-sensitive cancers. While this is most blatantly manifested in shift-workers, it also holds for people who sleep with the lights on and those exposed to, for example, street lamps shining light through bedroom windows at night.

50% increased risk of breast cancer in female shift workers. Up to 200% increased risk prostate cancer in male shift workers.

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Artificial light at night: effects on obesity and diabetes

“There is now substantial evidence that exposure to blue-rich light in the evening and at night increases the risk of obesity and diabetes (Moore-Ede 2018)”

I concur.

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The upstream mediator is disruption of the circadian system. More downstream is melatonin suppression and phase shifting which promote nutrient anti-partitioning, late eating patterns, mindlessly poorer food choices, etc., etc.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, sunlight in the morning and during the day is great… it’s even protective against artificial light at night (ALAN)-induced melatonin suppression… it’s just this ALAN we’re talking about.

Obesity is almost doubled in people who sleep with the lights on at night. I have no idea how this happens, maybe by accident, or they just fall asleep reading or something. But for whatever reason, risk of obesity = doubled.

Many more facts, figures, and what to do about it… but for that, head over to Patreon! Five bucks a month for full access and there are many other options. It’s ad-free and you can cancel if it sucks 🙂

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Study: protein & seafood. They work!

I liked this study for a couple reasons:

Effect of combined use of a low(ish)-carbohydrate, high-protein diet with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on glycemic control in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, parallel-controlled trial (Liu et al., 2018)

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There were FOUR groups: 1) high-carb, low protein (HCLP, aka CONtrol group); 2) LCHP; 3) HCLP+n3; and 4) LCHP+n3. So, instead of just taking a group of people, putting them on LCHP+n3 and comparing the results to baseline, they actually controlled for the variables independently.

 

 

All groups were assign 30% fat and the protein was either 17% or 28%. THIS WAS CONFIRMED with serum urea nitrogen and you know how much I like biomarkers! n3 status of the n3 groups were confirmed with plasma n3’s and you know how much I like biomarkers!

Some more details on the study design…

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Regular circadian effects vs. effects of circadian misalignment.

Endogenous circadian system and circadian misalignment impact glucose tolerance via separate mechanisms in humans (Morris et al., 2015)

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“Glucose tolerance is lower in the evening and at night than in the morning.”

THE FIRST FRIGGIN’ LINE! Come on fam, please stop arguing against this fact. A basic tenet of circadian biology is our preparedness for food intake in the morning. “Skipping breakfast” is not hormetic. It’s CICO and not in a good way. Metabolism is gimped at night, so you end up having to eat less so you’re double-restricted (no breakfast and less food at night).

 

 

The point of this study was two-fold, in my estimation: 1) determine the normal circadian influences on glucose tolerance; and 2) influence of circadian misalignment.

 

When comparing the glycemic response to identical meals ingested after an identical period of fasting, either at 8 AM (subjective morning or “breakfast”) or 8 PM (subjective evening or “dinner”): postprandial glucose was 17% higher (ie, lower glucose tolerance) in the biological evening (8:00 PM) than morning (8:00 AM; ie, a circadian phase effect).

 

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Intermittent vs. Continuous Energy Restriction: Study vs. Headlines

It started here: Effect of intermittent versus continuous energy restriction on weight loss, maintenance and cardiometabolic risk: A randomized 1-year trial (Sundfor et al., 2018)

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If intermittent fasting (IF) works for you, awesome. If not, don’t worry, you’re not missing out on much. The above study was a year long and showed no difference between IF and plain old just cutting out some junk food. IF group lost 8 kg, regular dieters lost 9 kg.

 

 

“Intermittent and continuous energy restriction resulted in similar weight loss after one year in men and women with obesity.”

In this study, the IF protocol they employed was most similar to 5:2 wherein you eat normally for five days a week and consume minimal food on two non-consecutive days.

“Feeling of hunger may limit long-term adherence to intermittent energy restriction.” [this seems somewhat unwarranted because, well, they made it a whole year which is pretty “long-term,” imo] [although they consistently reported higher feelings of hunger which may be unpleasant]

Backlash to the above tweet was savage lol and a lot of people cited a 2016 study with which I was familiar… that doesn’t really make their case…

HEADLINE vs. STUDY, people

disclaimer: if you’re hell bent on IF, I’m still a little biased toward #eTRF

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LOOK AT THE DATA, PEOPLE.

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Anabolic Heterogeneity Following Resistance Training: A Role for Circadian Rhythm?

YES!

Resistance exercise stimulates muscle growth, strength, and functionality (Camera, 2018), although the inter-individual variability in response is hyooge. People used to think there were “responders” and “non-responders,” although now we know everyone benefits but there’s a wide spectrum. WHY?

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Exercise timing? There are definitely circadian clock genes and rhythmic expression of many genes involved in muscle growth, strength, and functionality.

Physical inactivity and sedentary behavior in general is bad. Physical activity is good. Load-bearing resistance is exercise is better. Is proper circadian timed exercise even better? Can you get slightly better benefits at the same workload?

WHY is this important?!

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Salty blood, sweat, and tears. But do I need to supplement sodium?

This was meant to be a neutral boring non-tweet:

 

But it was met with a hella-backlash. I was being half-serious: in undergrad and grad school, we learned about many different diets, the studies that supported or debunked them, and whether they made sense nutrition-wise. We didn’t spend much time at all on the DASH diet, sodium-supplemented or -restricted diets, etc.

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Sodium chloride vs. potassium bicarbonate? Maybe.

 

 

During the mineral portion of one class, yes, we studied the role of sodium in biology. And in a section on nutrition for the elderly, we learned the ability to “taste” declines with age, Tl;dr: old people stop eating meat because it tastes like cardboard and their health is improved by going from zero meat intake to some meat intake, and monosodium glutatamate (MSG) as a seasoning agent helps in this #context.

 

But as performance aid?

…I’m not anti- or pro-salt. If you like it on your food, have at it! There are no magic tricks. Some of the backlash I received on Twitter was concerns that ultra-endurance athletes use up sodium faster and sweat out more, therefore need to supplement it. Well, not really….

Are there other reasons to take some minerals like magnesium? Maybe.

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“The Big Breakfast Study” !

Chrono-nutrition influence on energy expenditure and body weight (Ruddick-Collins et al., 2018) HT/ Robb Wolf

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“A growing body of evidence highlights the importance of the biological clock as a modulator of energy balance and metabolism. Recent studies in humans have shown that ingested calories are apparently utilized more efficiently in the morning than in the evening and this is manifest through improved weight loss, even under iso-energetic calorie intake.” YES!!!

Book recommendation: Why We Sleep

 

 

People eating 3 square meals a day shouldn’t be ingesting >40% of their calories late at night. <33% prior to sunset is more like it.

“The SCN of the hypothalamus, the ‘master clock,’ is primarily regulated by the light/dark cycles in order to synchronise the body to the light cycle or solar day…” but it also must by sync’d to the peripheral clocks! aka ‘food-entrainable oscillators’ (FEO).

Sure, caffeine and exercise can influence the liver and skeletal muscle clocks, respectively, but for full central & peripheral co-entrainment: FOOD and LIGHT in the morning (exercise and caffeine are optional for this).

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