University of Barcelona study links weekend eating jet lag to obesity

January 21, 2020

A new study by the University of Barcelona (UB) concluded that irregularity in eating schedules during the weekend, named by the authors as eating jet lag, could be related to the increase of body mass index (BMI), a formula that measures weight and height to determine whether someone's weight is healthy.

These results, published in the science journal Nutrients, were independently taken from factors such as the quality of the diet, level of physical activity, social jet lag (difference in sleeping schedules during weekends) and chronotype (natural predisposition to a certain sleeping schedule).

According to the researchers, this is the first study that shows the importance of regularity in eating schedules -including weekends- to control weight, and could be an element to consider as part of nutrition guidelines to prevent obesity.

The study, jointly led by Maria Izquierdo Pulido, from the Department of Nutrition, Food Sciences and Gastronomy of the UB and INSA-UB, and Trinitat Cambras, from the Department of Biochemistry and Physiology of the UB, is part of the doctoral thesis of the researcher María Fernanda Zerón Rugerio, first author of the article. Other participants in the article are Álvaro Hernáez, from the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS) and the Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERobn), and Armida Patricia Porras Loaiza, from Universidad de las Américas Puebla (Mexico).

The importance of the biological clock in nutrition

During the last years researches proved the body understands calories differently depending on the time of the day. Eating late can be related to a higher risk of obesity. According to Maria Izquierdo Pulido, "this difference is related to our biological clock, which organizes our body to understand and metabolize calories consumed during the day". At night, however, "it gets the body ready for fasting while we sleep".

"As a result -the researcher continues-, when intake takes place regularly, the circadian clock ensures that the body's metabolic pathways act to assimilate nutrients. However, when food is taken at an unusual hour, nutrients can act on the molecular machinery of peripheral clocks (outside the brain), altering the schedule and thus, modifying the body's metabolic functions".

The new study was carried out on a population of 1,106 young people (aged between eighteen and twenty-two) in Spain and Mexico. Researchers analyzed the relation between the body mass index and the variability in eating timing during weekends compared to the rest of the days. To do so, authors used a new marker that gathers changes in eating times (breakfast, lunch and dinner) at weekends: the eating jet lag, presented for the first time in this study.

"Our results show changing the timing of the three meals during the weekend is linked to obesity. The highest impact on the BDI could occur when there is a 3.5-hour difference in eating schedules. After this, the risk of obesity could increase, since we saw individuals who showed a 3.5-hour eating jet lag increased their BDI in 1.3. kg/m2", says María Fernanda Zerón Rugerio.

Lack of synchrony between the social and body time

To explain the link between eating jet lag and obesity, authors suggest individuals to undergo a chronodisruption, that is, a lack of synchrony between internal time of the body and social time. "Our biological clock is like a machine, and is ready to unchain the same physiological and metabolic response at the same time of the day, every day of the week. Fixed eating and sleep schedules help the body to be organized and promote energy homeostasis. Therefore, people with a higher alteration of their schedules have a higher risk of obesity", notes Cambras.

More research is needed to reveal the physiological mechanisms and metabolic alterations behind the eating jet lag and its link to obesity. However, authors highlight the importance of keeping regular eating and sleeping schedules to preserve health and wellbeing. "Apart from diet and physical exercise, which are two pillars regarding obesity, other factor to be considered is regular eating schedules, since we proved it has an impact on our body weight", notes Izquierdo Pulido.

Studying the long term effects of eating jet lag

The study notes the importance of doing research on the relation between time irregularity and the evolution of weight over time, as well as conducting the study on populations with different social and economic characteristics, metabolic features and different age. "Variability in eating schedules during weekends compared to week days can happen chronically during someone's life. Future studies should evaluate the effect of this chronic variability through the eating jet lag, on the evolution of weight", conclude researchers.

University of Barcelona

Related Obesity Articles from Brightsurf:

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.

Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients
Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

New obesity guideline: Address root causes as foundation of obesity management
besity management should focus on outcomes that patients consider to be important, not weight loss alone, and include a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of obesity, according to a new clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

Changing the debate around obesity
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) needs to do more to address the ingrained stigma and discrimination faced by people with obesity, says a leading health psychologist.

Study links longer exposure to obesity and earlier development of obesity to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Cumulative exposure to obesity could be at least as important as actually being obese in terms of risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), concludes new research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]).

How much do obesity and addictions overlap?
A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?

Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.

Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.

Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.

Read More: Obesity News and Obesity Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to