The type and quantity of foods impact our health. But meal timings also play a major role in it. When to have our meals? What happens if we do not consume them at proper times?
Meal timings and health
People usually have three major meals in a day with occasional snacks in between. Nutritionists teach us which foods are healthy. They opine on foods that are nutritious and should be part of our daily diet. Moreover, they advise on how much quantity of a food dish is best for us. Portion control is important and should be followed.
And now, nutrition researchers are studying the impact of meal timings on the body. They have realized that when we eat our meals also makes a difference. And studies in this direction have shown that one should eat heavy in the early part of the day and have lighter foods at night time.
This implies that it should be a heavy breakfast, modest lunch and a light dinner. This would help in optimal health.
What is the reason for this type of eating pattern?
This type of eating heavy in earlier part of the day but lighter towards night time is beneficial. It is in alignment with our circadian rhythm. This is the 24 hour rhythm that is set in our body naturally. It is our biological clock that governs our sleep and waking up cycle.
These changes of the day are associated with hormonal fluctuations in the body as well as temperature and neural changes. There are additional biochemical fluctuations noted and this rhythm determines our health. Any disturbance in it due to any reason disturbs our health.
Our internal clocks are so made that our body is primed in a way that it can metabolize food better and faster in earlier part of the day. Hence eating more at this hour is okay. But if we eat more at latter part of the day it can cause metabolic imbalances.
Research studies are increasingly showing that chrono-nutrition or timings of our meals are equally vital. These have striking impact on our appetite, weight and chronic health. Marta Garaulet who is professor of physiology and nutrition at the University of Murcia in Spain is studying this field and stated:
“This is something that until recently no one in nutrition had looked at — it’s always been what are you eating, and what’s the energy content of your food or the carbohydrates, protein and fat,”
One should never skip breakfast and have dinner few hours before bed retiring. She found that this reduces risk of metabolic diseases. But those who binge at night have a lot of health issues. She revealed:
“In Spain our main meal is in the middle of the day, from 2 to 3 p.m.,”
“We eat 35 to 40 percent of our calories in the middle of the day. And even though we eat dinner late, we don’t eat very much.”