Sunday, 20 May 2012

It's Not What You Eat But When You Eat It

Like many women I'm usually drawn to reading articles about diets. Over the years I've tried a few such as the grapefruit diet (brought me out in a rash), the banana and milk diet (never ate a banana again for years) and the 'little and often' diet which made me hungrier as the day progressed.

As I become older weight seems to creep on overnight and doesn't shift during daytime activities as it did even just a few years ago. Although I've reduced portion size because I'm less active than I was when younger and chasing my tail round in never ending circles, there's little reduction in my weight.

The Salk Institute is one of the world's preeminent basic research institution and it's worth noting the results of the many disciplines they research.

We were brought up with 'regular' meals; breakfast around 8am, lunch around 12.30pm and tea no later than 6pm. That's a 10 hour eating cycle.  Today many people don't eat their evening meal until at least 7pm and thereby reduce the fasting time, the length of which appears to be the prominent aspect of this research.

If an 8 hour food cycle - resulting in a 16 hour fast - results in a 28% reduction in weight compared with mice who were given access to the same food over a 24 hour period, and showed no ill effects, then it's worth revising my eating times.

When I retired from full-time work I started to eat breakfast - something I never did all my working life.  Maybe that's why the extra few pounds has crept on.  Because I enjoy my main meal of the day in the early evening and in the good cause of research, for the next month I'll omit my usual toast (or poached egg on toast at weekends) and start my eating day with a light lunch. That should make my daily fasting be around 17 hours.  I've no intention of changing what I eat but just when I eat it.

Then, of course, I'll email my results to the Salk Institute!



Barbarian of the North said...

I like this article, but it won't stop my eating habits!

Perhaps you could send the link to a certain SNP MSP who has a problem with timing her lunches.......

Joe Public said...

An interesting posting again Rosie.

Those of 'an older generation' did tend to have the breakfast / lunch / tea cycle, usually inherited from their parents. [BTW most of my contemporaries called the midday event Dinner - presumably the reason assistants in schools were/are called Dinner Ladies & not Lunch Ladies?!]

I note your attempt 'for research reasons' to temporarily omit breakfast. Brave you; even if it's just (healthy) cereal & milk, I believe that's the meal that sets you up for the day.

Please keep your readers informed of your progress.

JRB said...

Sorry to rain on your parade …

But I have severe reservations on what you are about to undertake.

(Now how do I put this tactfully -) At our age, breakfast forms an essential and vital part of our daily diet and wellbeing.

People are not mice – whilst on the cellular level there may be biological and biochemical similarities. As a total living entity Homo sapiens is a far more complex and complicated than the simple Mus.

What is important is not only when we eat, but what we eat at that time.
For too many of us we now eat our main mail in the evening when all we are about to do his sit in front of a box for several hours before sleeping for the next eight hours.
We should take the greater part of our calorific input prior to the day’s activity, ie the two meals of breakfast and lunch. The evening meal should merely be just a light top-up for lost calories.

Omitting breakfast only puts unnecessary and unwelcome strains on our metabolic processes and our carbohydrate balance.

As always, it is best to seek professional advice in such maters.

subrosa said...

I don't think I could influence the certain MSP Barbarian. She seems determined to go her own way.

subrosa said...

It used to be dinner when I was wee Joe and I think that's because it was a three course meal, but became lunch when I was in late teens.

I will keep you informed. Will be interesting because I don't really enjoy breakfast so having it later might have some effect.

subrosa said...

I appreciate your concern JRB and bow to your superior knowledge. As you are aware evening is when I enjoy my main meal and that perhaps is the problem as you say.

When I lived in Germany and Switzerland the evening meal was an open sandwich or something similar and they were surprised we ate so much after 6pm.

I've never enjoyed breakfast JRB, even when on holiday but you and others insist it's necessary. Perhaps I'll just move it to later and reduce, even more, my evening meal portions. Soon it won't be worth cooking anything. :)

Hamish said...

This reinforces the results of a study last year which broadly concluded that it's the food you eat after 6pm which puts on the weight.
To the estimable JRB I would point out that it is by definition impossible to cut out breakfast, unless you go on hunger strike.
You will break your fast, whether you call it brunch, luncheon or denner.
In my youth, the expression "You'll have had your tea" did not refer to the optional afternoon tea with scones and red jam which we read about but never had. It referred to the main evening meal which was not called dinner or supper but high tea. And it generally just missed the 6pm curfew.
As for seeking professional advice, I think the old adage should be updated: a doctor is someone who has faster internet access than his patient.

subrosa said...

Auch Hamish, I think at my age I know my stomach better than my doctor. My faith in doctors is fading.

Yes, I think that's my problem - eating too big a meal in the evening. But I enjoy it then that's the trouble.

Bit of a catch 22 isn't it.

I only have denner when I'm with my Dundee pals. :)

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