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Master Your Body's Internal Clock with Circadian Rhythm Fasting- Here's What You Need to Know!

The Circadian Rhythm or Circadian Cycle is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours.

Aarushi Chadha
Studies show that circadian rhythms affects metabolism and weight through the regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol

Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock, running in the background to carry out essential functions and processes. Different systems of the body follow circadian rhythms that are synchronized with a master clock in the brain. When properly aligned, a circadian rhythm can promote consistent and restorative sleep.

Studies show that circadian rhythms affects metabolism and weight through the regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol. It also influences mental health. An unbalanced circadian cycle increases the risk of psychiatric illnesses like depression and bipolar disease as well as neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.

What is circadian rhythm fasting?

Circadian rhythm fasting is a form of time-restricted feeding in which a person eats all of their food across a span of hours in the earlier part of the day. Ideal eating hours for a circadian rhythm fast might be between the early morning and early evening hours. This schedule suggests eating when it makes the most sense, given the daily waxing and waning of various hormones like cortisol, insulin, and leptin. The person would be fasting or abstaining from food outside of this set window.

The circadian diet encourages people to time their meals with the rise and fall of the sun and the corresponding surges and dips in cortisol. This is because cortisol has a significant effect on our thyroid hormones, which affect the metabolism of the food you eat. As cortisol dips later in the day, the metabolism slows down, which makes it more likely that your body will store the food you eat as fat.

Circadian rhythm fasting also considers the role of insulin. This is because when we eat a meal that has a lot of complex or simple sugars, which triggers the release of insulin in respond to the rise in blood sugar. Eating a meal late at night can disrupt our circadian rhythm and increase your risk for long-term health problems, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Benefits of Circadian Rhythm Fasting

Time-restricting diets, such as Circadian Rhythm could be a strategy employed to prevent or help manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Weight loss is another benefit of the circadian rhythm diet as many people find it difficult to lose weight or maintain weight loss through lifestyle changes alone, and surgical weight loss methods often come with multiple complications. Other circadian rhythm fasting benefits include-

  • Reduced insulin resistance

  • Lower LDL cholesterol

  • Higher HDL cholesterol

  • Lower Blood Pressure

  • Lower Fasting Insulin Levels

  • Reduced Body Fat

  • Lower Fasting Glucose Levels

  • Weight Loss

Risks of Circadian Rhythm Fasting

While circadian rhythm fasting certainly has many benefits, however, this eating style might not be the best choice for everyone. This is because early-time-restricted eating tends to result in a reduction of calories consumed, those who are older or have a lower weight could be negatively affected if they do not eat enough while restricting their eating times.

Circadian rhythm fasting does not involve one particular eating schedule, different people might carry it out differently. Setting personal eating times too late in the day could actually cause misalignment with the circadian rhythm. Following an eating schedule that is misaligned with one’s circadian rhythm can increase a person’s risk of developing metabolic problems, like insulin resistance.

Tips to Start Circadian Rhythm Diet

  • Aim to eat your first meal about one to hours after you get up.

  • Eat a balanced diet with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains every day while limiting added sugar and salt.

  • Aim to eat the last meal of your day earlier in the evening.

  • Also, limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol, which are both stimulants.

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