Exposure to morning light may help with weight loss

Several recent studies have linked exposure to light in the early morning hours to a lower Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is a calculation of weight to height and is often used to assess overweight and obesity. A higher BMI is a risk factor for many diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic disease. In a study published in the scientific journal, PLOS ONE, participants who received light exposure earlier in the day had lower BMIs, regardless of amount of calories consumed. Another study cited in a recent article by the Los Angeles Times (see the full article here) found that 45 minutes of light exposure in the morning between the hours of 6am and 9am helped to reduce body weight over a three week time period.

The research seems to show that exposure to light in the morning hours can help people lose weight. Considering what scientists have long known about circadian rhythms, this is not altogether outlandish. Exposure to morning light may regulate hormones that influence body fat and control appetite. Scientists hypothesize that the blue UV light that is most prevalent in the morning may have something to do with the hormone-triggering effects.

Never to fear, our gloomy northwest skies can still offer enough light power to activate this process. Through the research studies mentioned previously, scientists have found that light exposure measuring at 500 lux or above are best for weight control. According to the LA Times, full daylight comes in at 10,000 lux but even a cloudy northwest day is 1000 lux.

Tell us, how do you get morning light exposure?


– Metabolic Reset and Weight Loss Program Intern Cassie Christopher

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