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!