How eating according to your ‘biological clock’ can help you lose weight and improve your health

Modern diets are increasingly focused not on what we eat, but when we eat. The well-known interval fasting works according to this principle: a day is divided into two segments, in one of them (usually shorter) you eat, in the other – you do not, while the set of products that make up your diet is of secondary importance. The latest word in nutrition science is circadian rhythm eating. What it is and how it can help you lose weight and improve your health, we tell you in our material. 

What is a circadian diet?

Circadian rhythms, aka biological clocks, are changes in the biochemical processes occurring in the body in connection with the change of day and night. For example, when it gets dark outside, the body starts producing the hormone melatonin, which makes us sleepy, and vice versa in the morning. But it’s not just the desire (or unwillingness) to sleep that is governed by circadian rhythms, but also all the processes going on in the body, including digestion. 

The circadian diet aims to synchronise nutrition with your ‘biological clock’. This approach helps you significantly improve your performance, get rid of chronic fatigue, improve your mood and simply make your life much easier and more enjoyable. Interestingly, weight loss was not originally a goal of the creators of this system, but as it turns out, being in tune with your biorhythms, getting rid of extra pounds is much easier, without much effort.

The circadian diet is a lot like interval fasting, but still with a couple of nuances. Whereas for the former only the intervals matter (e.g. you can eat from 2am to 8am and then not eat all day if you so wish), for the circadian diet it matters at what time of day these intervals fall. 

An ideal daily schedule is as follows: you eat from 10am to 6pm and you should have 3 to 4 meals in that time. If you are new to interval fasting and have never practiced interval fasting before, you can first extend the interval to 10 hours (10am – 8pm).

In doing so, nutritionists recommend making the first meal the densest so that the body ‘switches on’ after a night’s sleep. For breakfast, eat avocados, eggs, slow carbs (oatmeal, buckwheat or quinoa), berries or Greek yoghurt. Coffee would be a great addition to breakfast and provide an extra boost of energy. 

Lunch should be lighter, consisting mainly of protein, fibre and healthy fats – red fish, lean poultry and a large portion of vegetables are your choices. For dinner, choose light foods, without high fibre content (it is difficult to digest at night). Also, get rid of the habit of drinking tea in the evening, or replace it with herbal analogues. Caffeine is obviously not what your body needs at the end of the day.

How does it work?

At first, it will take time for you to get used to eating this way. However, after a couple of weeks, you will feel that waking up in the morning is easier and more pleasant, and that you have more energy during the day. This is purely because you ‘feed’ your body with the right substances at the right time, in the right way. 

Following a circadian diet improves performance, prevents cardiovascular diseases, improves your gastrointestinal function and slows down ageing by reducing inflammation. It also helps you lose weight effectively – you get all the nutrients you need without overeating, and your sleep patterns are normalized as a result. And this is known to be one of the keys to slimness (we talked about the link between sleep and weight loss here).