Experts say that in a world where we sleep less than we eat, it means our bodies have more energy to use for everyday activities and even to make us feel good about ourselves.
The new study published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation says that sleep deprivation over the course of a week will actually slow down the body’s metabolism, which means we’ll lose more weight, eat less and have less energy overall.
“Sleep deprivation, like overeating, is associated with weight gain, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other metabolic conditions,” said lead researcher Dr. Joanne M. Smeets, a clinical research associate at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
“It is also associated with a range of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.”
The researchers took people who had been eating well for a few weeks and kept them in a metabolic chamber for two weeks.
Then, they fed them three different types of food: normal diet, high-fat diet and a low-fat food.
The scientists measured how much energy each type of food gave off and how fast the body responded.
When it came to the high- fat diet, the researchers measured how fast it burned up energy.
When they looked at the same subjects on the normal diet diet, they found that eating the low- fat food caused more weight gain.
“So the low fat food did not help us lose weight,” Smeers said.
“So what was happening was that we were eating the high fat food, but the body was burning energy from that, so it had to be replenished.”
In the second experiment, the scientists fed subjects the normal food and then allowed them to eat the low and high fat diets for two days.
Then they gave them a food test to see how well they could perform.
“This is an important study,” said Smeests.
“If we can demonstrate that a diet high in fat, like a low fat diet does not increase energy intake, then it’s an important point that’s missed by the majority of studies.
It shows there’s a physiological basis to the idea that the body needs more calories.”
When it comes to calories, there’s not much to say that’s going to make the difference in the long run.
The researchers found that those on the low calorie diet lost less weight than those on normal diet.
It wasn’t just that they lost less fat, but they also gained less muscle mass.
“That’s important because we’re looking at muscle mass in the context of fat loss, but there’s no indication that fat loss actually benefits fat loss,” Smedets said.
What’s the difference between high- and low-calorie diets?
The researchers tested two different types on different people.
One group ate the low, high fat diet and one group ate normal diet for two consecutive days.
They found that the subjects on normal, high calorie diet gained more muscle mass and had a bigger increase in fat mass than those who ate the high calorie.
However, those on low calorie did not gain any muscle mass at all.
“That suggests that eating a high fat, high sugar diet does indeed increase fat loss.”
The study also looked at how much the people on the high calories were able to gain on the two different diets.
The high calorie group gained a lot more muscle, but this was only due to the fat loss.
“In other words, the people who were on a high calorie, low sugar diet gained fat.”
So, you should eat the food you want to lose, Smeys said.
However there’s an upside to this study: it helps us understand why people might feel better eating low calorie food and not eating high calorie food.
“It helps us identify what is important for us to be eating and what is not important,” Smesets said, “and that could be beneficial for people who are not eating their normal diet.”
Smeets added that the findings could also have an impact on how people are able to maintain a weight loss diet.
“I think this could be an important tool to look at how we can actually achieve weight loss goals.”
“If we want to achieve a weight-loss goal, then we need to look for a good food that’s good for us,” Smetts said.
The research was funded by the Australian Research Council, Australian Research Program and the National Institute of Health.SOURCE: journals.acm.org (Physician Assistant Editor: Melissa Bierman)