These Glasses May Help You Lose Weight Study Indicates
Did you know that there could be a direct link between the obesity epidemic and the technology we all depend on today? Here is what the latest research says about one potential cause of weight gain that could be prevented simply by wearing a special type of glasses.
In the November issue of Men’s Health magazine, readers are alerted to a new study that found that the blue light glare emitted by smart phones, tablets and laptops may be causing people to gain weight.
The study performed by researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois was comprised of 10 healthy adults with regular sleeping and eating schedules who were provided with identical meals during a 4-day test period.
During the first two days of the study, the participants were placed under dim light conditions of less than 20 lux of light for 16 hours while awake, followed by eight hours during sleep of lighting that was less than 3 lux. On day three, the participants were exposed to three hours of 260 lux, blue-enriched light during the later hours of the day before going to sleep.
What the researchers found was that blue-enriched light exposure on day 3 compared with dim light exposure on days 1 and 2, was associated with an increase in hunger that began 15 minutes after the blue light onset, and remained present almost two hours after their evening meal.
Furthermore, the blue light exposure also interfered with sleeping and resulted in higher measures of insulin resistance.
According to a news release from American Academy of Sleep Medicine, scientists believe that controlling the amount and type of light during the evening hours could affect how we eat and subsequently play an important role in controlling weight gain.
"It was very interesting to observe that a single three-hour exposure to blue-enriched light in the evening acutely impacted hunger and glucose metabolism," said study co-author Ivy Cheung, a doctoral candidate in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. "These results are important because they suggest that manipulating environmental light exposure for humans may represent a novel approach of influencing food intake patterns and metabolism."
It turns out that these new findings support earlier studies that looked at the effects light from electronic devices has on sleep patterns that revealed an association with weight gain.
According to a Harvard Health newsletter there is ample evidence that the exposure to increased light in modern times has led to a disruption in the normal circadian rhythms of many people as well as their levels of melatonin—a natural hormone in the body responsible for inducing sleep.
The newsletter points to a previous study that found that blue light in particular is especially disruptive of normal sleeping patterns. In a comparative study looking at the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light in comparison to exposure to green light of comparable brightness, researchers found that blue light suppresses melatonin about twice as much as the green light did, and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).
Blue-Light Blocking Tips
Their recommendation to people who may be suffering from too much blue light exposure is to follow these steps:
• Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
• Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed.
• Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, which will boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight.
And, if you are like most of us who use a lot of electronic devices at night―or work night shifts―you may want to consider wearing blue-blocking glasses.
A quick search on the internet will lead you to several suppliers of blue-blocking glasses. Blue blocking lenses are typically yellow or brown; however, not every yellow or brown lens blocks sufficiently blue light. To ensure you are getting your money’s worth, it is advisable to check with your optician for recommendations of reliable sources of blue-blocking lenses.
To turn your blue-light emitting device into a weight loss aid, here is an informative article about how you can lose 10 pounds with this free App.
Men’s Health Nov. 2014: “Is Your Phone Making You Fat?”
Harvard Health Letter: “Blue light has a dark side”
American Academy of Sleep Medicine news release: “Study links evening blue light exposure to increased hunger”