You have probably heard of the circadian or "body clock" diet and how is it good for health. The diet focuses on certain food options and the right intervals of having them to promote the body's circadian rhythm – the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, hormone production and other workings of the body.

The diet perpetuates the old idea that cutting back on unhealthy foods and switching to a nutrient-rich meal boosts the metabolism, but comes with a little bit of makeover. A circadian diet is a targeted meal plan, which should be consumed at certain times of the day to notch up energy levels.

How is sleep connected to metabolism?

According to Pubmed, sleep has a mutual dependency on various metabolic and hormonal activities in the body. Sleep is the crucial factor that regulates the metabolic cycle. Sleep deprivation has profound metabolic and cardiovascular implications.

The circadian rhythm is defined as the body's 24-hour clock, which gets it to do the right thing at the right time. Most people believe mindful eating means focusing on what's on the plate while ignoring the time of consumption, which is key to boosting the metabolic index.

There's also a perception that a circadian diet is similar to intermittent fasting.

Unlike intermittent fasting,the circadian diet keeps the meals limited to within a 10 or 12-hour window, with a focus on improving overall health rather than just promoting weight loss. Both diets are sustainable and holistic and aimed at achieving different goals.

"I don't love the idea of people starving themselves and fasting," Sara Grafenauer, program lead at the University of New South Wales' Dietetics and Food Innovation Program, told Body and Soul. "Generally speaking, the fast overnight, especially in terms of weight loss, has actually been found to be sufficient. If weight loss is someone's goal, intermittent fasting doesn't necessarily show better results, so it's actually more important to really consult with a dietitian and actually look at your whole eating pattern across the day and consider changing the loading on that nighttime meal in particular."

In a circadian diet, you eat during daylight hours and fast during the night, Illinois-based dietitian Amanda A. Kostro Miller explained. "You eat after the sun comes up and then stop eating before the sun goes down."

Benefits of a circadian diet

Improved weight loss: Circadian diet restricts late-night meals, which helps keep one's calorie intake in check and achieve the weight goals faster.

Better sleep: Aligning meals with the body's natural clock improves the sleep-wake cycle.

Improved metabolism: Consuming most meals during the daytime and complete food abstinence in the nighttime increases metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

High energy levels: Circadian diet consists of energy-inducing foods that improve overall productivity.

Sleep Diet
Eating magnesium may help put the body's circadian clock and metabolism back on track. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain