Study probes how holiday gluttony affects your 'food clock'

New research finds that holiday eating excess can have the same effect on your system as being jet-lagged, in that all those buttery sweets and alcoholic beverages can upset your body's "food clock."

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, have found out how holiday decadence can affect your body on a molecular level in what they say is one of the first studies of its kind.

A day of eating rich food and staying up late can upset the balance of your "food clock," which the researchers describe as a collection of interacting genes and molecules that keep the human body on a metabolic even keel.

In a series of tests with lab mice, the researchers found that disruptions in regular eating and sleeping cycles especially effect mice lacking a protein called PKCγ, which could provide clues into the molecular basis of obesity and diabetes. Mice lacking PKCγ weren't able to bounce back as quickly as mice with the protein after disruptions to their 24-hour cycle.

The researchers add that the findings could explain why night owls are more likely to be obese than early risers.

The results, announced this week, were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Access: http://www.pnas.org/content/109/50/20679

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