New Years and resolutions go hand-in-hand. The top goals are eating better, exer- cising, and being financially stable. Eighty percent will give up by Jan. 15.
None of these goals are accomplished overnight, and in a world driven by instant gratification, it’s easy to see why people give up so quickly. We didn’t gain the pounds overnight, and losing that extra weight won’t happen overnight, either.
Setting goals is essential, and sticking to them is just as important. New information in the field of nutrition suggests that it’s not just what we eat but when we eat it that plays a massive role in our health.
The emerging field of research, known as chrono-nu trition, has shown that it’s better to eat most of your calories earlier in the day rather than later. This is a big shift from the conventional thinking of skipping breakfast and over-indulging at night-time meals. Have you ever noticed you wake up starving when you eat a large meal late at night?
There’s a study for that. Researchers found that in a study group that ate the same food and exercised the same level of physical activity, the participants who followed the late-night meal were significantly hungrier than the group that ate big meals earlier.
The doctors looked at the hormone levels to explain why this was true. Eating later caused their ghrelin levels to spike. Ghrelin is the hormone that increases appetite. The late-night study group also burned less fat and fewer calories and their fat cells stored more fat than the early-eating group.
A study by Marta Garaulet, a professor of nutrition and physiology at the University of Murcia in Spain came to the same conclusion. Eating a light meal a few hours before bedtime increases weight loss, and people who eat light at night tend to lose 25% more weight than their counterparts.
Studies by Harvard, Brigham University Women’s Hospital, Tufts and NIH have all written papers on the benefit of, “Eating like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner.” Eating a substantial breakfast, modest lunch, and a small dinner will go a long way in helping to lose those unwanted pounds.
That doesn’t mean eating an entire package of Entenmann’s for breakfast. It is recommended, however, to eat animal fats and whole-grain carbohydrates. Science has swung the other way. It is now recommended to eat foods like sausage, eggs, bacon, and wheat bread for your big meal of the day. Morning carbs are better than late-day carbs. Check with your doctor first before changing your diet.
Lunch should be protein-rich foods and starchy foods. Save the vegetables for dinner. They contain mineral salts that can cause weight gain if eaten during the day. Snack time consists of a handful of nuts, a bit of fruit, nothing heavy, just enough to tide you over till dinner.
Dinner should be your lightest meal of the day. Lean meats, fish, shellfish and vegetables. If you’re still full from lunch, skip dinner.
Chrono-nutrition is based on the body’s natural rhythm, called the circadian rhythm. That dictates when we should sleep, wake up, and so on.
“It’s clear that the timing of your meals does mat ter – not just what you eat, but when you eat it,” said Jonathan Jun, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins. “Eating late makes you less glucose tolerant and also makes your body burn less fat than if you had the same food earlier in the day.”
A rhythm of about 24 hours is what we define as a circadian rhythm. Here are a few examples of biological processes that occur with a circadian rhythmicity:
• Hormones – e.g. melatonin, cortisol, leptin, etc.
• Sleep-wake cycle – sleep anticipation in the brain default mode network (DMN)
• Core body temperature – reaches peak during the day and minimum point at night
• Immune system activity e.g. pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF Nutritional therapy practitioner Kaylene McCrary, out of Sandy says, “It’s so important we honor the whole cycle of life by taking in quality nutrients, and nurturing our bodies.”
Change is hard, and lasting change takes time, so don’t beat yourself up if you backslide on occasion. Just start over. Every day is a new day.