A variety of fresh and local veggies, meats, whole grains, fruits, and nuts fill your pantry and refrigerator.
Home cooked meals are pumping out of your kitchen, daily.
Eating slowly and chewing your food more thoroughly has helped you feel fuller faster.
Proportions of carbs, fats, and protein in each meal are pretty balanced.
However, you still aren’t seeing the results you want out of your nutrition program.
One area you might want to examine is not the “what” or the “how” of nutrition, but the “when.”
Recent studies have shown that arranging meal times around key circadian rhythm markers can have a profound impact on your body composition and overall health.
The Circadian Rhythm
Our body possess a master clock in our brain’s hypothalmus that develops a rhythm of physiological activity influenced by the rising and setting of the sun as well as peripheral clocks found in a variety of sources (muscles, organs, fat stores) within the body.
Among other processes, this rhythm allows our body to arrange appropriate fueling practices to meet the needs of daily activities both external (exercise) and internal (basal metabolic functions).
So while our circadian rhythms largely control how our body functions, our behaviors can influence these cycles, too.
How to Maximize Nutrition Aligned with the Circadian Rhythm
When foods are consumed based upon our rhythm, positive results can occur.
In one study, researchers found that the timing of the day’s main meal had a significant effect on weight loss. People who ate late lunches lost less weight on a lower calorie diet than earlier eaters. In fact, higher calorie intake during breakfast compared to dinner showed not only an increase in weight loss, but also lower daily glucose and insulin levels as well as lower perceived hunger.
Meals with higher levels of carbohydrate are best consumed in the morning as glucose tolerance is lowest in the evening.
Conversely, the body’s ability to metabolize fatty acids, triglycerides, and cholesterol was higher in the evening.
12 pm and 8 pm represent the peak times of protein metabolism.
Ghrelin, the hormone that triggers appetite, becomes highest in the evening, but eating the aforementioned foods at the more appropriate times helps control evening snacking.
Becoming more attuned to the natural rhythms of our bodies is a powerful nutritional intervention. Eating certain foods at respective times throughout the day have shown to help in decrease body fat while maintaining lean muscle.
If your nutritional “what” and “how” are strong, nutritional practices focusing around “when” might be just the thing to help you reach your goals!
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Kessler Katharina and Psvovarova-Ramich, Olga. “Meal Timing, Aging, and Metabolic Health.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences. (18 April 2019). Pp 1-16.
Smith, Harry A and Betts, James A. “Nutrient Timing and Metabolic Regulation.” Journal of Physiology. 660.6 (2022). Pp 1299-1312
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