Poor sleep, "dietary disinhibition," and weight gain
"Dietary disinhibition"

In school, the concept was taught like this: recruit a bunch of people and tell them it's for a cookie taste-testing project. Give them a form with a bunch of questions about cookie quality (taste, texture, sweetness, etc.) and a plate of cookies.

SWITCHAROO!

They aren't there for a cookie taste-test. It turns out that some people experience "dietary disinhibition" wherein if they eat one cookie, they think something like "well, I've blown my diet for the day, so might as well just eat the whole plate of cookies" (actually, I'm pretty sure it's way more complicated than that, but I learned it in a nutrition class, not a psychology class).

It's not a lot of people -- most would just take a bite and fill out the questionnaire -- but it's been replicated in enough settings that it's probably a real phenomenon.

Well check it out:

Dietary disinhibition mediates the relationship between poor sleep and body weight (Blumfield et al. 2018)

We are a nation of crappy sleepers. Too much artificial light at night and not enough blue blockers. And depending on the specific study & #context, etc., you might also see higher ghrelin, lower leptin, and any number of hormonal fluctuations (not going in the right direction). And it starts with poor sleep hygiene.

Not surprisingly, I buy this narrative. And weight gain isn't the worst of it... here we have another case of "Brain Health" (and anti-cancer).

Disinhibited eating in obese adolescents is associated with brain shrinkage and poor executive function (Maayan et al., 2011)


The first rule of Fight Club is this: sleep. And this awesome study showed that eating seafood helps! Inpatient RCT intervention study -- the participants were given salmon 3x/week for six months; controls received some other meat (eg, beef, chicken, pork). Sleep improved in the fish group! I'm so enthusiastic about this study because of it's design: it's rare to have all of those ducks in a row... and when you do, it's usually "no effect because we had a proper study design."


Blue blockers + seafood + sleep = smarter, eat better, less obesity, and less cancer. Add 'shrooms on the left side of that equation for good measure.

These things are all related by circadian biology.

Avoiding artificial light at night or at least getting some blue blockers should be advice* that every MD hands out readily. *And by "advice," I mean prescriptions.

It's like, really really low-hanging fruit.

I'd also add sunlight and breakfast in the morning: "We conclude that eveningness is associated with skipping breakfast and a higher consumption of calories, carbohydrates and fats in breakfast skippers." well,duh

"Characteristics associated with skipping breakfast ... poorer diet, lower physical activity, inadequate sleep..."

"But Bill-man those are just two association studies!" Well, the seafood study wasn't, and there is no shortage of sleep restriction studies showing negative influences on body composition (eg, Nedeltcheva) and food choices (eg, St. Onge). And the notorious studies by Jacobs and Hirsh on the negative impact of breakfast skipping on body weight (in both calorie-controlled and ad lib settings).

I'm just doing the best I can to find the paths of least resistance leading you to optimal health.  WITHOUT BURPEES OR FASTED CARDIO.

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calories proper