Holiday eating throws off 'food clock'
Feeling a bit of a holiday eating hangover this morning? Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that overindulging in rich foods during the holidays throws off your internal food-entrainable oscillator (also known as your ‘food clock’), giving you a feeling similar to jet lag.
The body’s internal food clock is just one part of a complex cycle called the ‘circadian oscillator’, which synchronizes our biological processes to the rhythm of a 24-hour night and day sleep cycle. A healthy food clock attempts to make the most of our nutritional intake throughout the day by causing hunger at ideal meal times.
When you overindulge in foods you would not normally eat at odd times of day, an enzyme in the body called PKCy responds by attempting to reset the food clock to the presumed new mealtime. As your ‘food clock’ attempts to adjust to the sudden change in eating patterns, the body is desynchronized and feels sluggish or ‘off” until a new pattern is established. People who are jet lagged or even snack late at night experience the same feeling.