Why when you eat could be as important as what you eat2019-02-05T16:46:21+00:00

Why when you eat could be as important as what you eat

Here in Australia, we’re still waging diet wars – arguing about whether the Keto or Paleo diet is best for our patients. While diet wars are still raging in the US, an even hotter topic right now chrono-nutrition because when you eat could be just as important as what you eat – both for your overall health and for weight loss!

The latest research is pointing this way and Nathan Rose BHSc(Nat), Clinical Education Manager at Metagenics, is abreast of it all. He’ll be presenting a talk on this all of findings around this topic at the next ACNEM Conference on 24-26 May this year.

Rose will give you all the latest information on how to optimise your circadian rhythms and the timing of your patients’ meals for optimal health. As well you’ll:

  • Discover the benefits of time restricted feeding
  • Understand the best style of fasting for different patients
  • Learn how other cycles of light/dark and activity/rest can contribute to health and disease

Chrono-nutrition and your circadian rhythms

One of the major findings from the latest research into chrono-nutrition is the fact the timing of our meals sends biological signals to the biological clocks which exist in every organ in our body, impacting ageing, metabolic function, hunger and satiety hormones and weight.

Rose will explain how important our circadian rhythms are. He keeps in touch with the world’s leading researchers in this area and everything points to the fact our circadian rhythms are very important to our overall health. As he says: “There’s strong evidence that people who do shift work have higher incidents of cancer and other illnesses. We’ve known about the importance of this area for some time.”

Weight loss may become easier

Rose says he knows many practitioners are searching for ways their patients can lose weight – and keep it off. While he admits that fundamentally, we are easily overeating, the research is also pointing to the fact that chrono-nutrition can contribute greatly to weight loss and weight control.

“Our bodies have evolved over many thousands of years, living in a 24-hour light and dark period. Chrono-nutrition is the science of eating to our circadian rhythms. So light becomes the conductor of our life because it is such a major factor. Hence there’s a big movement now not to look at phones or iPads at night because this inhibits our production of melatonin and interferes with our circadian rhythms,” says Rose.

“It’s far better to have your meals synchronised with your circadian rhythms. Some studies with mice have been carried out where one group was fed a certain amount of food with a certain calorific intake over 24 hours and another group was fed exactly the same amount of food with the same calorific intake but only in a restricted window of that 24 hours – only over an 8 hour period during the night as mice are nocturnal. This would be the equivalent of a human eating from 9am to 5pm.

“They found the mice who were fed over the full 24 hour period became obese but the mice who were fed over an 8 hour period did not. Various research has found the 8 hour restricted feeding period is ideal. For some reason, with human beings, your cells are more likely to be able to process those calories by only eating for 8 hours when it’s still light.”

“They have done some early experiments with people who only ate for a restricted 8-hour window of time from say 9am to 5pm and they found they slept better, woke up in a better mood and had more energy.

As Rose says, this is a major finding for people trying to lose weight: “If you can lose weight and you feel comfortable with it, you’re more likely to stick with it and your body will be healthier and happier,” he adds. “All the research shows people just won’t starve themselves on a long term basis. But if they can eat a wider range of foods – but restrict their eating period – then it could work for them.”

“There are potentially huge benefits for losing weight if you eat this way. People are finding if they have the majority of calories earlier in their day, they seem to be able to eat the same amount of calories and still lose weight,” he adds.

All the benefits of fasting

Chrono-nutrition brings with it many of the benefits of fasting: “If you wake up but don’t have breakfast straight away – you can delay it one to two hours – you can be getting up to 16 hours of fasting each 24 hour period,” says Rose.

The benefit of eating this way is similar to a mini-fast. As Rose says: “It takes the stress off the system when you don’t eat so much of the time. The research is finding people are gaining metabolic health benefits such as not developing pre-diabetes.”

“By eating at the right time of the day the research has found people can create a new set point in the brain – the set point being the weight range which has been programmed for the body for optimum functioning. Often the body seems to fight to maintain a certain set point but there is preliminary evidence that chrono-nutrition will help change this set point. But there’s not conclusive evidence yet,” he adds.

You can see Nathan Rose giving his full presentation on Chrono-nutrition: Why when you eat could be as important as what you eat, at the ACNEM Conference called Evolving Landscapes of Nutrition in Medicine, held in Melbourne from 24-26th May this year.