Are you a Lark or an Owl?

Have you like me, been binge watching Netflix? I have watched more TV than ever before during lockdown! However, staying up late may have an impact on how you metabolise and store fat! And it has everything to do with the liver. A new liver gene has been discovered that reveals how your body copes (or not) with those late nights and how you store fat!

Our DAY/NIGHT CYCLE  Circadian rhythm.

Every living cell in our body (except red blood cells) are controlled by an internal “clock” which drives our circadian rhythm. If you think about it, all of our cells inside our body are in the dark. They rely on external cues to know when to function. This process is controlled by some external triggers such as our sleep cycle i.e. light/dark entering the eye and interestingly, our feeding times.

These cues are known as Zeitgeber or “time-givers” and help set our internal clock and even affect how our gut bacteria and immune system responds which is fascinating to think that trillions of bacteria have a beneficial impact on our immune system when we treat them right…you can read more about in my recent blog “how to improve your immunity” 

REVERB-alpha gene

A team of scientists at the University of Oxford have discovered an important link to a new gene discovery and our metabolism; this component of our circadian rhythm; a liver gene known as REVERB-alpha is one of a network of proteins that keep our organs “ticking” in time with our internal clock. 

This gene – if you have the “fully coded” version can help your liver deal with the occasional “insult” i.e. late night and late night snacks,  but variations sometimes known as “snips” or ” SNP” in this gene are associated with obesity so it is not surprising that those unlucky people will not be so lucky regularly eating late. Timing is more important than we ever realised when it comes with your body’s immunity, sleep, digestion and metabolism.

Research shows that mice lacking this gene were more prone to storing fat around the middle (err, sounds familiar!) and around their organs and became obese very quickly when given a high-fat diet. 

When it comes to the liver; it loves a strict regime to help it do its job effectively filtering blood and storing glycogen which is released as glucose when a demand for energy is initiated. The liver is fully “in the dark” and relies on your external cues to tell it when to supply energy to the rest of the body. 

Disrupting our circadian rhythm by going to bed later than normal or eating too late can lead to poor sleep patterns, leading to low energy the next day which then leads onto unhealthy food choices as you drive your waking day with stimulants such as coffee, sugar and carbs to keep you going! We all know that caffeine, sugar and doughnuts seem to be the only solution after a bad night sleep or very late night?!

The liver stores and releases glycogen on demand and is critical for maintaining energy balance and of course is designed to cope with fasting through the night whilst we sleep. Interestingly, shift-workers are more prone to obesity and higher risk of Diabetes Type II as their circadian rhythms are forced out of sync.

Supporting the health of your liver is critical to longterm health and wellbeing and giving it a little holiday with my one-day liver detox plan is a great way to give it all its favourite nutrients without starving yourself and also helps to kick-start to weight loss.

Eating late, out-of-sync and bad eating patterns or disordered eating causes fat to be stored around our middle and organs and it disrupts the genes and hormones that control fat metabolism and storage.

What can you do?

So, we may get away with the occasional late night eating /drinking and delayed sleep but if this becomes a regular habit and if we constantly go against our natural circadian rhythm, our body clock is disrupted and the liver knows it and responds accordingly by producing more energy than we can make use of, disrupting fat metabolism, resulting in fat storage. 

It is clearly important to our internal clock and organs to eat at a regular time of the day consistently with a clear period of fasting overnight to keep our liver clock ticking. Eating in daylight hours only makes evolutionary sense and is how we were designed to be effective at sourcing food, eating, digesting and absorbing nutrients. Our digestive enzymes are produced much more efficiently during daylight hours and tail off production as the light fades.


Do you stay up late or eat later than you know you should? What you could do is to tryy sticking to a regular routine of going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time in the morning and aim to have your meals at the same time each day.

Meal planning ahead can help you be more organised and stay on track with healthier choices, you can download your FREE meal planner and get started today.

But, what should I eat?

If you need some healthy inspiration, my new recipe packs are packed with tasty, easy and healthy recipes, the new 5-ingredient pack is proving very popular with some fabulous time-saving recipes and all packs come with a handy meal planner and shopping list, why not download yours today and save yourself some time so you can get to bed earlier!

You can also join my next Eat Better Feel Better live, online programme which has helped over 600 people lose weight eating real food, no fads, no shakes, just pure science led by me all the way. It is also a fun and lively community where we share tips, advice and support each other throughout the four weeks. Find out more and join at special earlybird price now EAT BETTER FEEL BETTER starts September.

Prefer one to one, personalised advice?

Get in touch to get my help to re-set your metabolism and improve sleep patterns in an easy, achievable way eating real food with my full support and heaps of healthy inspiration. Contact me

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