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Being overweight comes with real consequences to our health.
So it’s no wonder that with the New Year, so many people are once again resolving to lose weight.
However, it might not be so easy…
Especially since according to a research team at Oregon Health & Science University, simply being obese actually changes the way your body burns the calories you eat.
It’s a change that helps explain just why it can be so hard to lose weight, but also gives insight on how to beat it…
Energy burn, insulin and body weight
So what did those researchers discover that led to this conclusion?
Well, surprisingly enough, they weren’t actually trying to nail down how obesity alters calorie burn. Instead, they had set out to determine how circadian rhythm (our body’s natural internal clock) and sleep affect the body in people of differing weights.
That’s because schedules, including when people sleep, eat and exercise can either improve or worsen health, by either complementing or going against the body’s natural, daily rhythms.
For the study, the team recruited 30 volunteers, who stayed at a specially designed circadian research lab for six days. Each participant had to be awake and sleep at different times throughout each day.
To test what this was doing to their bodies, researchers not only took blood samples to check glucose levels, but they even had participants exercise while wearing a mask that was connected to a machine called an indirect calorimeter, to estimate energy usage — or calorie burn.
And here’s where it gets really interesting…
The researchers found that people who have a healthy weight use more energy during the day — when most people are active and eat.
On the other hand, people with obesity spend more energy during the night, when most people sleep.
“It was surprising to learn how dramatically the timing of when our bodies burn energy differed in those with obesity,” said the study’s first author, Andrew McHill, Ph.D.
To top it off, the results showed that during the day, those with obesity have higher levels of the hormone insulin. According to the researchers, this is a sign that the body is working harder to use glucose — a key factor in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes that’s common with obesity.
This means that obesity could cause a one-two whammy that keeps you from losing weight by lowering energy burn and raising insulin levels.
At the same time, obesity could even be a side effect of these changes, creating a weight gain feedback loop.
Ramping up your energy burn
So is there anything you can do to break the cycle, boost your calorie burn and actually take off the extra weight?
Luckily, the answer is yes!
Here’s what past research has shown us can work:
- Brown your body fat – Brown fat is a type of fat that burns more energy than the white fat so common around the hips, thighs and belly. A combination of vitamin A and cold exposure can help convert white fat to that energy-burning brown.
- Take that brown fat up a notch – Even better, researchers have found a supplement combo that blocks inflammation, while at the same time browning fat. This one-two punch of thymoquinone and omega-3s can help level up the calorie burn.
- Avoid late eating – Finally, be sure to put a limit on how late at night you eat your dinner or final snack. That’s because late eating has been shown to not only increase your appetite but also slow your energy burn.
The good news is that now that you know the havoc that extra weight can cause for your ability to burn calories, you’re also armed with ways to fight back.
Editor’s note: Are you feeling unusually tired? You may think this is normal aging, but the problem could be your master hormone. When it’s not working, your risk of age-related diseases skyrockets. To reset what many call “the trigger for all disease” and live better, longer, click here to discover The Insulin Factor: How to Repair Your Body’s Master Controller and Conquer Chronic Disease!
People with obesity burn less energy during day – ScienceDaily