You are reading Do we gain weight in winter due to a lack of light?


Do we gain weight in winter due to a lack of light?

July 16, 2018

It is not just because the cold stimulates the appetite or because heavy clothes do not show us the effects of a diet richer in fats and elaborate foods. In winter, our body gets fat more easily and it is not the lower temperatures that are to blame, but the amount of light to which we are exposed to. We talk about this topic with Dr. Martina Mura, dietitian of Humanitas.


The discovery occurred “by chance” from the Alberta Diabetes Institute

The team at the Canadian University of Alberta, headed by Alberta Diabetes Institute director Peter Light, was analyzing fat cells to find ways to induce them to produce insulin, the hormone secreted by the pancreas that stimulates the intake of sugars in muscle cells, when it discovered that these cells are photosensitive. According to the data collected, certain wavelengths of sunlight would help deflate fat cells; while, on the contrary, the lack of light typical of winter would tend to produce the opposite effect. As Professor Light explained, wavelengths between 450 and 475 nanometers, capable of producing what is commonly called “blue light”, would be able to reach the layer of fat cells.


A plausible thesis that needs new confirmations

The correlation found between light and fat accumulation is of course still to be confirmed. New evidence and more reliable data have yet to support the thesis of Canadian researchers. However, if the discovery were confirmed by further studies, the correlation between light and lipid metabolism could help explain different biological processes. This data could prove to be particularly explicative in the analysis and prevention of childhood obesity.


The word of an expert

“The discovery is interesting, – said Dr. Mura – it is clear that more in-depth studies will be needed, but the study adds a piece to the already complex framework of mechanisms that regulate the accumulation of fat.

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