EVER noticed you tend to gain more weight in winter, no matter how hard you try to keep it off?
There’s a surprising culprit and it’s not the extra calories in your comfort food – the lack of sunshine could actually be making you fat.
Getty – Contributor It turns out we may gain more weight in winter because we aren’t getting enough sun
While looking for ways to promote the production of insulin through fat cells in the body, in an attempt to treat type 1 diabetes, a team of researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada accidentally discovered that fat cells beneath the skin tend to shrink under sunlight.
Senior author Peter Light, director of the university’s diabetes institute, said: “We noticed the reaction in human tissue cells in our negative control experiments, and since there was nothing in the literature, we knew it was important to investigate further.”
Light and his team of researchers then took samples of fat cells from patients undergoing weight loss surgery and found that the suns blue light, the visible light that boosts mood and attention.
“When the sun’s blue light wavelengths—the light we can see with our eye—penetrate our skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid [fat] droplets reduce in size and are released out of the cell,” he added.
Getty – Contributor Scientists have discovered that fat cells under our skin shrink when they are exposed to sunlight
“In other words, our cells don’t store as much fat.
“It’s early days, but it’s not a giant leap to suppose that the light that regulates our circadian rhythm, received through our eyes, may also have the same impact through the fat cells near our skin.”
The sun’s blue light is the light that directs our circadian rhythm – the body’s natural clock that tells us when to wake up and when to sleep.
The same blue light is emitted from smartphones and other electronic devices, which is why we are told not to look at them before we go to sleep as it triggers our body’s waking up process.