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Creative Commons License photo credit: korona-pl


In my previous article we had a look at the laws of thermodynamics as they pertain to nutrition and fat loss. Today I want to continue to burrow down the rabbit hole as it were and cover a facet of health and wellbeing poorly covered by the mainstream media. I expect that much of the information in this article may be news to many of you. Today I want to look at what conditions would be like if we lived in harmony with nature, compare this to how we live today and explain how a seemingly simple difference is having a massively negative impacting your health.

Today with electricity and inexpensive lighting we are completely out of tune with nature’s rhythm. Light is a vital cue to our body because it tells it what time it is. Not simply whether it is day or night but also what season it is. The daily period of light during summer is long while the dark nights of winter are equally long. With the lights always on your body thinks it is summer 365 days a year. That my friend is unnatural and it is killing everyone, including you.

It all Starts in the Dark
When you sleep in the dark Melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in inverse proportion to the amount of light received by the retina, is released. I find it interesting that Melatonin, something our bodies produce each night under the right conditions (complete darkness) also happens to be one of the most powerful antioxidants known to man. Only after a period of Melatonin release does something called Prolactin start to be secreted and it is this Prolactin that controls your appetite.

During the long nights of winter out in nature Melatonin keeps the Prolactin going longer at night. Meaning little to no Prolactin is secreted during the day. Winter in much of the world is naturally a time of famine. Summer with its long days of sunshine is a time of feast. Nature always seeks balance and our bodies contain mechanisms that allow us to survive and thrive through the cycles of nature.

With the long dark nights of winter no Prolactin is secreted during the day. High Prolactin also kicks your immune system into overdrive leaving you autoimmune. A state that is very exhausting because it takes a great deal of energy to run your immune system which is why we’re supposed to be asleep when it happens. Even worse autoimmunity in some cases causes Asthma and Arthritis. If Prolactin happens in the daytime because of too short a period of time spent in the dark it suppresses another hormone called Leptin.

Leptin happens to be the hormone that your fat cells produce to signal your brain that you have enough fat stored to survive. Leptin hits neuropeptide Y in your brain which controls your appetite for carbohydrates. Leptin switches that appetite off. It’s an ingenious feedback system. Once you have enough fat stored to survive tomorrow your fat stores have reached the level where they are producing enough Leptin that tells your brain to stop eating. Of course today our lives and our environment are anything but natural. In nature the lights (the sun) goes out and the carbohydrates (in winter) run out. The way we live the lights are always on and the carbohydrates never run out.

So with Prolactin pushed into the daytime by keeping the lights on and staying up late on the Internet or watching TV Leptin is suppressed and there is no check on the system. Your appetite stays on with its natural barriers to excessive consumption removed. Thus we keep eating and our fat stores grow.

It Gets Worse
Soon you have enough fat that your fat is producing massive amounts of Leptin. Your body is literally screaming to your brain to stop eating. Unfortunately too much Leptin from carrying around too much fat results in Leptin resistance in much the same way that too much insulin in response to too much sugar results in insulin resistance.

The Leptin receptors go dead from the overload, like trying to hear someone speak after being exposed too long to a loud noise. With no receptors to read the Leptin “fat stores full” message it’s as if you don’t have any and your appetite stays permanently switched on. That is until the carbohydrates run out, which they do in nature with the coming of winter. But not in our world. Today the carbohydrates never run out. So we keep eating.

We find it enormously difficult to restrict calories long term because we were never meant to do so. Nature has always taken care of that for us. Further, if your appetite is always on the idea that you can exercise away the difference between what you consume and where you need to be to lose weight is ludicrous. To try to do so is to set yourself up for failure and burnout. I hope the image of an after work cardio session on the treadmill or bike under blazing lights while it’s dark outside is now cast in a new light.

That is not the path to health and fitness. That’s a misinformed hamster sorely mislead by catchy mass media sound bites that conveniently skip the messy details so as to chunk it down to a handful of erroneous generalizations and gross oversimplifications that an attention deficit and time poor hamster can take away with them. The same poor hamsters can be found at the same time each night pounding away on the same treadmill as they slowly degrade into looking and feeling worse.

How to Avoid Leptin Resistance
If you want to avoid Leptin resistance the first step is to get enough hours of complete darkness each night. The good news is this is supposed to happen mostly during the long, cold and dark nights of winter, not year round. During summer you’re supposed to stay up late, eat fruit and put on some weight. That’s become come winter food will be scarce and everything will balance out.

You should do your best to avoid blood sugar spikes and emphasize good fats in your diet. Eat unprocessed natural foods such as lean meat and fibrous vegetables. Restrict sugar and grains. Some exercise is good. Just don’t exercise only to burn off fat. If your appetite is not in hand because you’re out of harmony with nature this is a battle you are unlikely to ever win. Instead, exercise to become strong both mentally and physically.

If you are interested in learning more I highly recommend you read Lights Out by T. S. Wiley and Bent Formby Ph.D. From there you can use the 100 pages of references to scientific studies contained within Lights Out’s endnotes to further inform yourself.


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