The holidays are officially here and gone– which means your expanding waistline might be revving up for another few months of jolly folly and tasty mistakes. But when it comes to the premier months for weight gain, it’s not just our calorie calculations that are as misguided as they are super-sized: according to Israeli researchers, another possible reason for holiday-related weight gain could be the jet lag you experience while traveling from family dinner to family dinner.
Wait…how does your sleep schedule and according midnight flights across the country (or globe) lead to weight gain apart from the constant snacking that ensues? Through your gut bacteria, actually.
Think about it: jet lag makes your body all out-of-whack, confusing its natural circadian rhythms so that you don’t know whether you should be sleeping or staying wide awake. Well, that jet lag doesn’t just throw off your sleep cycle: it messes with your gut bacteria as well! That’s a big deal when you consider that researchers consider the gut your “second brain” since it regulates things like mood and even your weight.
Messing with your normal circadian rhythm through jet lag also alters your gut bacteria’s makeup and healthy rhythm!
Researchers tested mice and realized that jet lag caused them to gain weight while also leading to metabolic problems reminiscent of diabetes. These conclusions were seconded in a case study involving two jet-lagged humans going from the U.S. to Israel, too; both human participants’ gut microbiomes went from supportive of a healthy gut composition to supportive of gut bacteria that was linked with weight gain.
According to Eran Elinav, MD, researcher with the Weizmann Institute of Science, these discoveries offer “an explanation” for the long-standing belief that people with disrupted sleep cycles– like those indicative of jet lag– are more likely to become obese, along with other potential “metabolic complications.”
So what should you do? If you must fly across multiple time zones, try to book a flight with transfers whenever possible. Getting off the plane for a little while just one time zone away before having to get on another one could help your body adjust just enough to prepare you for the next batch of time zones you’ll be crossing. Also, whatever you do– say no to airline food! It has been found to lead to weight gain, too, so don’t compound the issue when you’re already flirting with waistline danger by crossing over all those time zones!
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.