Posted on Apr 06, 2017, 6 a.m.
American Heart Association (AHA) researchers suggest meal and snack planning, to combat emotional eating.
The dynamic nature of modern life has made it difficult for most people to plan their meals and consequently, eat healthy diets. This, coupled with hectic lifestyles, has been the reason behind the sharp increase in cases of cardiovascular diseases. The American Heart Association (AHA) points out that more similar cases are likely to be reported in coming years.
AHA researchers led by Columbia University don, Marie-Pierre St-Onge similarly established that lopsided eating habits are detrimental to the maintenance of proper body weight, and optimum cardio metabolic health. They suggest mindful eating as an immediate solution to this worrying trend. In a report published on 30th January 2016, they stipulate that it is imperative to plan on meals besides avoiding emotional eating.
Meal timing can affect one’s health since it impacts major systems in the human body. At night for instance, the body is usually in its inactive phase. This means that its internal clocks are almost dormant and therefore, food intake can lead to insulin resistance, inflammation, and significant weight gain. Feeding on fruits, veggies, low-fat products, and whole grains also needs to be emphasized.
Emotional Eating and Improper Meal Times
According to the researchers, emotions trigger unhealthy eating habits even if one isn’t hungry. Such an individual may end up with excess calories in his/her body from foods whose nutritional value is low. To back up their study, they cited data, which indicates that between 2009 and 2010, only 63% of women and 59% of women ate at the proper meal times. This is a sharp drop from previous years. In addition, the proportion of Total Energy Intake (TEI) consumed from snacks and fast foods rose significantly.
An evaluation of-e-databases and consultations with other experts in the field of food and nutrition similarly established that having breakfast at normal times can decrease the risk of effects that are related to insulin and glucose metabolism. Therefore, the promotion of daily breakfast consumption can promote healthy dietary habits and routines throughout the day. Nonetheless, studies show that 25 percent of American adults do not consume breakfast every morning.
Alternative Interventions and Other Recommendations
Besides adhering to meal times and healthy diets, fasting can also be used to enhance weight loss. However, it is yet to be established whether its results are longstanding. The experts therefore proposed random trials lasting more than a year to examine whether fasting has a sustained effect on body weight or not.
Optimal meal frequency and timing has not been definitively decided. This is because everyone determines his/her own eating speed, amount of calories consumed, and meal times. Future studies should hence endeavor to incorporate ethnically diverse samples since dietary intake, meal timing, and meal frequency variations are also based on cultures. It is equally important for future studies to focus on dietary patterns among adolescents, children, and older adults. This will establish whether these patterns have an effect on their cardiovascular health.
In as much as more translational research is needed for greater public awareness, the existing data is a major cause of worry. Interventions aimed at addressing meal frequency and timing will prove to be beneficial in the long run. By focusing on these two issues, patients will increasingly address poor eating habits without necessarily dealing with calorie restriction. In the end, clinicians’ role will be to help patients in their quest to spread energy and calorie intake in a balanced manner, and over a definite time frame. This will form the foundation upon which healthy and intentional building can be based.
Meal Timing and Frequency: Implications for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Jamy Ard, Monica L. Baskin, Stephanie E. Chiuve, Heather M. Johnson, Penny Kris-Etherton, Krista Varady, On behalf of the American Heart Association Obesity Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Clinical Cardiology; and Stroke Council https://doi.org/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000476 Circulation. 2017;CIR.0000000000000476