Reverse Fasting and Circadian Rhythm: Why Is It Considered the Best?

Updated on May 21st, 2020
reverse fasting

Fasting is one of the most common preferred methods to treat obesity and other related conditions. There are various types of such techniques, but the busy modern lifestyle can make it challenging to follow such routine. But, not to worry, reverse fasting is here to rescue people with much healthier options. It uses circadian rhythms, and the person starts by ending meals early in the day. In recent times, the effectiveness of the reverse fasting has brought prominence to it in among global health experts. 

Various types of fasting are growing in prominence, especially intermittent fasting (link the article), to lose weight, reduce cholesterol levels, improve muscle mass, better mood, and improve overall health. People usually skip one, two, or whole day meals, depending only on liquids or lower-calorie foods. The most common and popular type of fasting is skipping breakfast or lunch. In simple terms, fasting refers to a time (usually lasting a day or a meal), where a person goes without consuming any form of food. 

But, why are health experts or dieticians recommending reverse fasting? What exactly is reverse fasting?

During reverse fasting, the person skips dinner or finishes it before 5 or 6 pm. Besides, skipping breakfast may not be healthier. For most productive hours start in the mornings, a proper breakfast can fuel the body with the energy needed to spark the day. 

As mentioned above, reverse fasting uses a Circadian rhythm. Almost every single body cell and organs have a circadian rhythm or body clock, generally controlled by daylight. In general, digestion can be at peak during the day, while the body’s ability to repair and renew may be at peak during night time. 

For the same, if we are eating during the night time or in the hours of darkness, digestion may slow down. The body may also become less sensitive to insulin later during the day or in the dark, meaning lower ability to control blood sugar levels. 

In the morning, when the sun is up, the body resets the clock and produces various hormones. During this time, digestion can also work at peak levels, and thus it makes more sense to eat at these hours of the day. 

However, the artificial light or those working during the later hours or until early mornings, it may slightly differ. Besides, disrupting the familiar circadian rhythm may also have some adverse effects on the body and increase the risk of various chronic conditions. 

Also called as early time-restricted eating, the person eats early in the day. The person also eats dinner much earlier, most likely in the evening, or even skips the dinner. Meaning, the person eats the last meal of the day at around 5 or 6 pm and fasts the whole night and until the next morning. It is also considered a highly beneficial type of fasting, as it is more aligned or runs together with the natural circadian rhythm.

Health Benefits of Reverse Fasting

Similar to fasting in general, reverse fasting has a lot of benefits and maybe a little more in comparison to the usual fasting. Below listed are a few: 

According to a study on a group of people (1), it was observed that the people who ate earlier dinner showed better results. They showed improvements in insulin sensitivity and immune functions, and reduced appetite, blood pressure, and oxidative stress. 

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Another similar study showcased that reverse fasting or prolonged night fasting (2) may also reduce the risk of breast cancer. 

Fasting during the night is better because the body needs less energy to function than in the morning’s or daytime productive hours. 

  • It may help in enriching the blood circulation. 
  • It can help in burning unhealthy fat. 
  • It may help in promoting proper sleep during the night and improved mood during the day. 

How to Practice Reverse Fasting?

Reverse fasting is similar to most other fasting techniques with sight variations. Below is a brief on how to practice reverse fasting: 

  • Leave a 12 to 13-hour window between dinner (last meal of the day) and breakfast. If you eat your dinner at 5 pm, you can have your breakfast at 6 am. 
  • If you are able to, you can also increase the window for 15 to 16 hours, usually when you are at home or do not have much work to do. 
  • During the fasting period, you can drink water or hydrating liquids that are low in calories. 
  • For breakfast and dinner, make sure to include highly nutritious foods that can replenish your body’s energy levels and fuel the nutrient value. 
  • Avoid high-sugar & unhealthy-fat, unprocessed, and other junk foods. 
  • Make sure to get the proper amount of sunlight in the mornings and evenings as well. 

Other measures:

  • Proper exposure to sunlight can regulate circadian rhythm, improve digestion, and promote quality sleep. 
  • Follow a proper sleep regimen. Try to go to bed between 9 – 11 pm and wake up between 5 – 7 am. 
  • Make sure to get at least 7 hours of proper sleep. 
  • Even if you are used to working late nights, shifting to this circadian rhythm can be done without any efforts. 

Conclusion

In today’s world of junk food and stressed-out routines, we must take extra measures to improve our physical & mental health and to avoid any chronic conditions. The modern lifestyle can easily disrupt our body functions, irrespective of dietary habits.

However, adapting to things like fasting or similar therapies can help regulate the normal workings of our body, especially in reducing obesity, diabetes, cardiac disorders, and other related health conditions. These simple techniques are easy to adopt and can have substantial short-term and long-term health benefits.

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