Best Diet? Sure, you can take your pick from thousands that are touted as the best. Indeed, it seems that a new diet comes out every week. And it’s promoted as the one that will take that weight off and really keep it off.
Well, now, a new study A new study by researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, reveals an unexpected culprit for winter weight gain: the absence of sunlight.
Best Diet: Winter Eating Blues
The researchers, from the Alberta Diabetes Institute, examined the effect of sunlight on subcutaneous fat cells, or white fat cells that can be found right beneath our skin. These subcutaneous white fat cells, are the major fat depot in humans and a central player in regulating whole body metabolism.
If dysfunctional, this type of fat can lead to cardiometabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
So, in an attempt to help people with type 1 diabetes, researchers were working on a way to genetically engineer these white fat cells to produce insulin when exposed to light.
Accidentally, they discovered that these cells tend to shrink under the effect of the sun’s so-called blue light — that is, the visible type of light that boosts attention and mood during the day.
To further test their discovery, the scientists took samples of white fat cells from patients undergoing weight loss surgery and examined the effect of the sun’s blue light on the fat cells.
This is what they found:
When the sun’s blue light wavelengths, the light we can see with our eye, penetrate our skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid droplets reduce in size and are released out of the cell. In other words, our cells don’t store as much fat.
Best Diet: Winter Weight Gain Explained
The insufficient sunlight exposure we get 8 months of the year living in a northern climate may be promoting fat storage and contribute to the typical weight gain some people have over the winter.”
It’s possible that the light which regulates our circadian rhythm, received through our eyes, may also have the same impact through the fat cells near our skin.
Ond caution, it’s unknown what intensity and duration of light is necessary for this weight loss pathway to be activated.
These findings may pave the way for new weight loss strategies or light-based therapies in the treatment of obesity and diabetes.