Binge eating can change your "food clock," leading to hunger and weight gain
A recent study at the University of California, San Francisco, says that binge eating affects more than just our waistlines.
Overindulging--whether during the holidays or any other time of year--can change our internal "food clocks," leaving our bodies confused as to when they should be doing what.
Set to rhythms
Much like a "sleep clock," the body's food clock is composed of our genes, hormones and metabolism functions. It lets us know when it's time to eat by sending out hunger signals.
But during times when we're overeating for extended periods of time--or eating 'round the clock, as in the case of the holidays--the food clock gets confused. It tricks us into thinking we're hungry when we're not, and it doesn't know when it's supposed to be metabolizing or resting.
Experts say the same problem happens for people that work night or graveyard shifts. As they become more accustomed to eating at odd hours, the body doesn't know when it's hungry or not. This can result in constant eating and weight gain.
Some people have it harder than others
The UCSF study found that some people, however, have a harder time adjusting their food clocks when their eating habits change. This means they might have more trouble digesting, sleeping or obeying hunger cues at the right time.
Researchers hope the study can shed light on causes for obesity, diabetes and disordered eating conditions.