The Sunshine Weight Loss Plan

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
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    The Sunshine Weight Loss Plan

    Although I am hardly a morning person, I have almost always been a sunshine person. Rain was the sworn enemy when I was a kid. Overcast skies were tolerable although viewed with suspicion, but sunshine was a free pass for the best ride. Each ray felt like forever, and everything was going to be alright. So while I may actually growl and nip at you before my first cup of morning coffee, my canine behavior is independent of that first good morning glow. I still love bright mornings but have developed some harrowing thoughts when it comes to alarm clocks. 


    Sunshine Benefits

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    There is no doubt that sunshine is our ally. Sunshine can boost our supply of vitamin D. Most cases of vitamin D deficiency are caused by lack of exposure to outdoor sun. Vitamin D is involved in calcium metabolism, immune system functioning, and neuromuscular functioning. Insufficient exposure to morning sun can cause rickets in children and osteoporosis in older adults.


    Sunshine is also beneficial to people with tuberculosis, diabetes, chronic ulcers, gangrene, rheumatic disorders, gout and wounds. Although excessive exposure to sunlight can cause malignant melanoma, recent studies suggest that high sun exposure can lead to an increase in survival rates for those with early stage melanoma.


    A recent study from Norhwestern Medicine has discovered that daily exposure to morning bright light can result in a significantly lower BMI when compared to light exposure later in the day.


    Let the Sun Shine In

    Researchers from Northwestern University had 54 adults from the Chicago area wear wrist monitors that tracked exposure to light and sleep patterns over the course of one week. Subjects also recorded what they ate in daily logs so that caloric intake could be determined. It was found that the earlier in the day a person was exposed to light the lower the body mass index would be.   


    The study suggests that light is important for synchronizing internal body clocks and helping our bodies perform at optimum levels. Those late-nighters should take special heed whereas insufficient sleep in primitive times was perceived by the body as a signal to store fat.  


    Another study that was conducted by researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Western Australia, in collaboration with the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton discovered that even moderate amounts of sunshine might slow obesity.


    Researchers found that shining UV light on overfed mice slowed weight gain as well as a decrease in warning signs linked to diabetes. The benefits of UV treatment were linked to nitric oxide, a compound released by the skin following exposure to sunlight. A cream containing nitric oxide was applied to the mice and had the same effect on controlling weight gain as exposure to UV light.


    Researchers are cautious however because mice are nocturnal and do not usually get much sunlight. Additional studies will be needed to determine if the effects on humans will be the same.  

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Published On: November 11, 2014