The holidays surrounding Christmas and New Year’s are known for dietary excesses that many of us are unable to control. This frequently results in the so-called “festive bulge.” As the holidays draw near, it begs the question: Is there a way to prevent the inevitable holiday weight gain while simultaneously laying the groundwork for long-term, nutrition-based health?
A lot of attention is paid to the food we consume and the quantity of food that we consume, but what about the timing of our meals? Chrononutrition is the study of how the passage of time affects how our bodies react to various nutrients. New insights from science into the timing of our meals suggest that it might be beneficial to our health to experiment with different eating schedules.
The concept of beginning Chrono nutrition over the Christmas holiday may sound like a daunting task; however, the sense of guilt that typically follows overindulging during the holidays could serve as the necessary motivation for the remaining months of the year.
Therefore, if you want to improve your health in the coming year, why not give time-restricted eating (TRE) a shot? The Time Restricted Eating (TRE) method is a form of intermittent fasting in which a person consumes all of their meals and snacks within a specific time window, which can range from six to twelve hours on a daily basis. This necessitates a fast lasting between 12 and 18 hours.
This type of timing could have a massive impact on our well-being via interactions between our body timers and nourishment, as evidenced by an increasing amount of research that suggests this possibility.
As researchers whose primary focus is on circadian biology, we have determined that the holiday season is an ideal time to start a new lifestyle of time-restricted eating because of the many social events that occur during this time.
What Exactly is the Term Chrononutrition?
The fundamental concept behind chrononutrition is that the way in which the body reacts to the timing of meals can influence the circadian timing system in a way that is beneficial to an individual’s health and well-being. This timing system is a reference to the internal 24-hour mechanism that prepares our bodies for the challenges and stimuli that come with a day that is 24 hours long. This includes the times at which nutrients are most likely to be consumed, the ways in which they are utilized within the body at a given time, and the ways in which the body reacts to them at a given time.
An experiment conducted with rodents in the 1930s led to the subsequent emphasis on calorie counting and eating in a manner that was restricted in terms of calories. In this particular experiment, restricting the rats’ diet in this way increased their average lifespan. After that, it was demonstrated in a diverse range of animal species. The promise is significant: reducing the amount of food you consume will likely result in weight loss, improved health, and possibly even an extended lifespan.
After the experiment with the rodents, researchers began looking into diets that promote health and reduce the risk of disease. In the 1980s, among other people, Franz Halberg, who is known as the founder of American chronobiology, was responsible for igniting interest in “meal-timing, circadian rhythms, and lifespan.”
The implications of evolution are taken into account in these studies on the relationship between food and behavior. For instance, rodents become more physically fit when they are fed in a manner that is time-restricted. In contrast, human behavior during the hours in which people are awake is typically characterized by more erratic patterns of eating.
Alterations to One’s Lifestyle
In light of this, what recommendations can we make for celebrating Christmas and the New Year based on the research that earned the field of chronobiology the Nobel Prize in 2017? The discipline gained recognition for its discoveries regarding how internal clocks organize our physiology and make it possible for us to live in balance with the outside rhythms of day and night.
The findings of this field point to a straightforward modification to one’s lifestyle: reducing the amount of time spent eating each day to between eight and ten hours could safeguard you from developing obesity or even decrease the negative health consequences of obesity that are already present. In addition, time-restricted eating may be successful even if it is only carried out five days per week.
Notably, if you can decrease a long routine eating window (for example, 15 hours) to a time-restricted eating period of eight hours, you are likely to gain more than somebody who reduces a routine eating window of 10 hours to eight hours. This is because longer habitual eating windows tend to be associated with higher caloric intake. It has already been discovered that reducing the amount of time between meals can assist some obese humans in losing weight, sleeping better, and experiencing a greater sense of vitality.
The majority of the evidence is indeed gathered from experiments conducted on animals; however, people are not exactly giant mice. However, there have been no reports of any negative effects that this practice may have on human beings. On the other hand, there is one report that time-restricted eating during pregnancy may have potentially negative effects on the offspring of the pregnant animal model.
Breakfast and Dinner are Served Much Later Than Usual
Why not give time-restricted eating a shot, as some studies recommend? You could start during the holiday season, or make it one of your resolutions for the new year.
To get things rolling, you might want to think about having a late breakfast and an early dinner. Naturally, if you are unsure about the effects of time-restricted eating or if you have a medical condition, or dietary restrictions, or if you are pregnant, you should seek the advice of your physician before beginning this practice.
In addition to paying attention to the number of calories consumed and the composition of the food we eat, paying attention to “when we eat” is a relatively straightforward and potentially viable approach.