The Honey, Insulin, Melatonin Cycle (HYMN CYCLE).
This explains just how important is melatonin, now emerging as the key hormone in activating recovery (fat burning) physiology.
Melatonin activates Slow Wave Sleep via the Honey/Insulin/Melatonin Cycle (HYMN).
Melatonin kick starts the recovery cascade via growth hormone release from the pituitary gland and this promotes recovery via insulin growth factors.
This requires optimal liver glycogen and two ounces of honey prior to bed beautifully refuels the liver, activates sleep via the HYMN Cycle and then melatonin in turn activates the recovery cycle.
Few in the diet/food/weight control industry/professions are aware that recovery physiology, during Slow Wave Sleep, is the key time for fat metabolism, or indeed how a dose of honey prior to bed may optimise this.
Nor indeed are they aware that honey is
packed with antidiabetic principles!
But the science is clear and well established, simply ignored, because it is counter-intuitive.
HYMN Cycle Diagram (c) Stuart McInnes Mar 23/07
HONEY, SLEEP, RECOVERY, AND THE NIGHT FAST
Is it time to return to the concept of a late evening snack as practiced by our grandparents?
This would horrify the modern diet gurus who order us "On no account eat late, the food will turn to fat, at night metabolic rate falls".
That there is not a shred of scientific evidence for this, is no hindrance to them retailing this to millions every day, in gyms and clinics.
What if this is not correct, and what if this information is positively dangerous? Who would challenge it? We (myself and my son, Stuart) have done so in our book, the Hibernation Diet (Souvenir, London), in which we advocate a dose of honey (one or two ounces) prior to bed to refuel the liver.
Indeed the science underlying our book has leapt forward since publication(January 06), and all the research is now pointing towards poor quality sleep as the key factor in obesity, diabetes type 2, and other metabolic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease and hypertension.
See "Sleepless in America" (1). Every food/health writer would benefit from reading this paper. It may seem counterintuitive that poor quality sleep alone could have such a devastating impact on our physical (and indeed psychological) health, but the evidence is growing exponentially.
When we go to bed at night we may activate one of two types of physiology, recovery or stress. From an early evening meal the liver glucose store depletes rapidly, and if we go to bed with a hungry (depleted) liver, the brain is forced to activate adrenal stress hormones, which degrade muscle proteins to create new glucose. If we selectively re-supply the liver prior to bed (fruits and vegetables, but honey is best for this), we activate recovery hormones and these are exclusively fat burning hormones. Yes, exercise burns fat, but recovery burns even more fat, if we refuel the liver prior to bed. We have the largest study in history to call upon, the Mediterranean Diet, where they eat late, restock the liver, and enjoy 8 hours of quality sleep and recovery. They suffer less from all the adrenal stress driven diseases referred to above.
Honey activates both sleep and recovery by means of a gorgeous cycle, the Honey/Insulin/Melatonin Cycle (HYMN), honey promotes insulin, insulin drives tryptophan into the brain, tryptophan converts to serotonin, and serotonin to melatonin, with the light off.(2)
It is also important to recognise that honey, unlike all other sugars/sweeteners, is packed with anti-diabetic principles, in particular the wonderful bioflavonoids, which act to clear glucose from the circulation. Diabetics may use honey at night, although type 1 diabetics must be careful to factor in their sugar calories.
We are in a period of a major crisis of weight control/diabetes, and we must learn to optimise our recovery physiology, in addition to the benefits of exercise. Body fat is the fuel exclusively selected by the human body to fund the energy of recovery, and all that is required for us to benefit from this, is to selectively refuel the liver prior to bed. Nature has provided us with the perfect food for this purpose, thanks to the patient husbandry of the beekeeper, and the glucose (from honey) sleep link to insulin established in many studies, see example (3).
Please do view the papers and film below, this represents a paradigm shift in our thinking about sleep, recovery and health, and if honey may optimise both sleep and recovery, what could be simpler than a dose of honey prior to bed, in a healthy snack or drink?
(c) Mike McInnes Aug 2nd 07.