Lighting and obesity
Singapore 16th October 2010
I read with interest an article this week about research that has shown that too much light at night potentially can lead to weight gain! I have collected some extra kilo’s over the last couple of years though I never thought that lighting could be the culprit, but may be it was! Here was I thinking it was just a matter of discipline with food and exercising! The study (carried out by the Ohio State University and published in the National Academy of Sciences journal) was conducted on mice (why do they always seem to use mice??) over a period of 8 weeks and found that mice exposed to light during the night gained 50% more weight then those exposed to a normal day-night life cycle. That is quite a substantial weight gain!
The researchers think that the result maybe a sign that light has an effect on our metabolism. Well I think they are pretty much right there! Their conclusion is that lighting at night made the mice wanting to eat at the wrong times messing up their metabolism. If these results are confirmed for humans it would suggest that late night eating (triggered by late night lighting) would be a cause for obesity. In most developed nations, night life and nightly activities have become a part of life for many and as lighting is an obvious environmental factor related to it. The researchers therefore believe that (late night) lighting may be one of the contributing factors to the fast growing obesity problem around the world.
The couched potato syndrome (sitting behind computers and in front of TV’s all the time) had been cited before as reasons for obesity but more in relation to lack of exercise. In “light” of these new findings it may well be that people who use the computer and watch TV a lot at night are tempted to eat at the wrong times and hence disrupting their metabolism. Which would explain that even those who exercise regularly and watch their food intake, still may gain weight if exposed to light at night.
At least now I have a good excuse! 🙂