In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Surrey have discovered that changing your meals to match the time in your destination could help synchronise your internal body clock.
During the study, Dr Jonathan Johnston and Dr Sophie Wehrens, of the University of Surrey, examined the impact of altering meal times on the circadian rhythms of 10 volunteers.
Volunteers were provided with three meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the first phase of the study, the first meal was provided 30 minutes after waking, with later meals at subsequent five hour intervals whilst in the second phase each meal was delayed by five hours after waking.
Immediately after each phase, sequential blood samples and fat biopsies were taken from each volunteer in specialised lab conditions that allow measurement of internal circadian rhythms. They said the findings show that mealtimes synchronise internal clocks that control rhythms of blood sugar concentration.
Lead investigator Dr Johnston said: “It has been shown that regular jet lag and shift work have adverse effects on the body, including metabolic disturbances.
“Altering meal times can reset the body clocks regulating sugar metabolism in a drug free way.
“This will help us design feeding regimes to reduce the risk of developing health problems such as obesity and cardiovascular disease in people with disturbed circadian rhythms.”