Lifestyle & Nutrition Blog
Scheduled Eating – Is It For You?
Some of us have heard the saying “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. However, few of us give much thought to our eating routines or to the specific amounts of food we consume at each meal. These days, we eat for a variety of reasons, hunger, habit, stress, emotions, medical conditions and the list goes on. It has not always been this way. Our ancestors eating patterns were regulated strictly by supply and demand. When food was plentiful they ate in preparation for when food was scarce. When there was no food, they survived on their own fat reserves for energy for long periods of time…….and survived. Maybe we have it wrong? Do we really need 3 meals a day? Should we top-load our intake of food at breakfast and scale it down to a much smaller meal at dinner? Should there be a cut-off time when we stop eating and give our bodies time to recover and repair? All of these questions point us in the direction of more mindful eating.
You may have heard the term ‘Intermittent Fasting’. It’s a hot topic right now, not only in popular culture, but within the medical community. Intermittent fasting has been described as an eating pattern where you eat and fast for a defined period of time or where daily calories are consumed within a set window of time. This eating style can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Recent research on intermittent fasting has found that when people restrict their hours of eating, their insulin sensitivity increases, which in turn improves blood sugar regulation. By giving our bodies a rest from the constant output of insulin, we can rely on other fuel sources (stored fat) for energy. For those cruising toward Type 2 diabetes, intermittent fasting can be a game changer. Other reported benefits include weight-loss, reduced inflammation and decreased risk for cardiovascular disease. One note of caution; to date most of the research on intermittent fasting has been with over-weight or obese individuals. More research is needed on the benefits of intermittent fasting and normal weight individuals.
How do you know intermittent fasting is for you? As with any new exercise or diet, it is important to consult your physician before considering intermittent fasting. Persons with hypoglycemia, Type 1 diabetes, pregnant women or those planning on becoming pregnant and athletes may not be candidates and should not try intermittent fasting without consulting a health practitioner. Fortunately, intermittent fasting is considered more of a lifestyle than a diet so it may be something that could work for you!
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