Here's When Your Body Burns the Most Calories, According to a New Study


Burn from the day. And according to a new study, there may be a time of day during which your body naturally burns the most calories.

Circadian rhythms, which control the body's internal clock and sleep and wake cycles. These rhythms can also influence calories burning, according to the research Current Biology. At rest, humans burn about 10% more calories in the late afternoon than they are late at night, laboratory experiments found.

Co-author Dr. Jeanne Duffy, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a neuroscientist That equals about 130 extra calories burned during the late afternoon and evening at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Even a small increase like this could impact health. "If it's happening every day," Duffy says, "you can imagine that over time it could add up."

Since the research focused on calories burn at rest – that is, the energy required to be exercised as well as blood circulation – Duffy says Dip in the late night and early morning.

"Let's say we get an hour or two hours early," Duffy says. "We may be eating at a time when our body might not be prepared to deal with it, but at a time when we need energy to maintain our functions. Therefore, the same breakfast might result in extra stored calories, because we do not need those to maintain our body functions. "

The study only included seven people, so the findings are preliminary. To the light effect, offering unique insights into the natural impact of circadian rhythms.

For 37 days, men and women in the study (who were ages 38 to 69), lived in a laboratory without clocks, windows, phones or the Internet, which eliminated environmental disruptions. Back the four hours each day. These effects show off the participants' bodily clocks and forced their circadian rhythms to operate only on internal factors, allowing the researchers to observe their body's true biological morning, afternoon and night, separated from those on the clock. Food intake and activity levels were also defined and tracked by the researchers.

Everyone wore sensors that measured their core body temperature, which 12 months later, in the late afternoon.

Duffy says these findings have special significance for shift and overnight workers. Research has shown a range of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and cognitive decline. Duffy says the new study adds to the idea that these health issues may be associated with circadian rhythm disruptions.

Our biological clocks are timed to be ready for regular use. Duffy explains. "We're not going to be optimally timed to deal with the fact that you're eating now at 3 o'clock in the morning".

But the study adds to the knowledge of the importance of circadian rhythms and their impact on total health.

"This is another metabolically related function," Duffy says. "We have these clocks inside of us that need to be synchronized and kept in sync with our external environment."

Write to Jamie Ducharme at



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