When You Burn Fat, Where Does it Go?
Scientific Approach: Under What Conditions Are The Most Calories Burned?
A lot of things affect the burning of calories in our body - training, going out with friends and in general any activity during the day. But the internal system also works around the clock, and even if you lie all day without doing anything, the body will spend energy on breathing, blood circulation, and digestion. Scientists have found that these costs are not equal.
How was the study carried out?
The study by Harvard scientists involved volunteers who spent three weeks in a closed room without windows and natural light. Since all watches and devices were confiscated, the participants did not know what time of day it was. They could focus only on their feelings.
Each subsequent day, they went to bed four hours later. Experts monitored how many calories were burned in the bodies of the participants at rest at different times of the day and night. Since the time of going to bed and waking up changed every day, the scientists were able to track the schedule of energy expenditures.
What are the results?
The experiment showed that the body was less active in the morning than in the evening, while in the afternoon the body at rest burns 10% more calories than midnight.
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A person spends about 130 calories without additional effort in the middle of the day. And, despite the general belief that you can afford all the tastiest things for breakfast, eating a cake or drinking a cup of cappuccino with syrup is better at lunch. According to study co-author Gene Muffy, this is when the body will more efficiently convert calories into energy.
What does it depend on?
Scientists have decided that it's all about the circadian rhythms that govern our biological clock. The participants were not guided by time, the body worked exclusively according to these very internal circadian rhythms. Each of them wore a special sensor that measured important vital signs, including body temperature. This allowed scientists to determine energy consumption. More calories are burned when the temperature rises.
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Does it affect is it during exercise?
Since the study focused on calorie burning at rest, it is not clear if there is any benefit to exercising during this time. So you don't have to rush to postpone classes until the middle of the day.
In addition, not so many people took part in the experiment - 7 people, so the results can still only be called preliminary.
Who is it important to?
The research results especially influence people with shift and night work schedules. This is equally important for owls that are used to being awake at night. Circadian rhythm disorders primarily affect health. This can lead to consequences such as diabetes, obesity, cancer.
Interestingly, the time for spending the most energy varies individually (from 12 hours for to 6 pm). Scientists have determined that despite the general timing of the study, it is important to adapt to your internal biorhythms, and the body will focus exclusively on them.