Chrono-Nutrition Decoded: Transforming Health with Meal Timing Strategies

Nutrition – Unveiling the Science: Explore the Impact of Meal Timing on Health and Well-being for a Balanced Lifestyle” Much research has focused on food choices and the amount of food to consume. Yet, recent research proves that eating timing is crucial to keeping your circadian rhythm (an individual’s internal clock, also known as the day/night cycle) and overall health.

Food timing, sometimes called chrono-nutrition, studies how the body’s circadian rhythm controls the person’s mental, physical, and emotional cycles. Franz Halberg first proposed the notion of timing meals about the circadian cycle, energy metabolism, and chronic illness in 1967.

A study conducted by Maninder Kaur Ahluwalia, published in the 2022 edition of Nutrients, discovered that the average eating time that covers more than half the population is around 15 hours per day. This extended eating time and a brief overnight fast result in a higher food intake disrupted circadian rhythms, and increased chance of developing metabolic diseases.

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Research from Jesus Lopez-Minguez et al. in the 2019 issue of Nutrients found that those who ate late meals (after three p.m.) were unable to lose weight compared to those who ate earlier lunch. Additionally, those who ate a meal late (close until 10:00 p.m.) had a higher risk of having hyperglycemia or metabolic syndrome.

In contrast, eating between 8 and 10 hours is long-lasting for most. For example, having breakfast at 8:15 a.m., dinner around 6:30 p.m., and lunch in between gives the eater ten hours. If the same person eats their next meal after 6 a.m. the next day, they’ve fasted for twelve hours overnight.

A study in 2022 from Emily N. C. Manoogian et al. published in Endocrine Reviews indicated that maintaining the same overnight fast for at least 12 hours, a practice that mimics time-restricted eating habits can significantly reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.

The participants in this study who adhered to an 8 to 10-hour eating time and fasted for at least 12 hours experienced increased body weight, reduced hypertension and glucose intolerance, and better metabolism.

Chrono-nutrition boils down to cutting down your eating window. To begin the process of chrono-nutrition, it is necessary to eat food earlier during the morning so that you can prolong your night-time fast. This is why you should set a time frame for regular meals, including an earlier meal. Maintaining a normal and healthy sleep schedule is also essential since the food traditions you choose to follow influence your sleep patterns.

Untimely eating, for example, missing breakfast or eating late for dinner, is a sign of your eating patterns that could alter the rhythm of your body’s circadian. An imbalance in your circadian rhythm puts you at risk for various cardiometabolic risk factors like hyperglycemia or diabetes mellitus, in the words of Ahmed S. BaHammam and Aljohara S. Almeneessier in a piece in The Frontiers of Nutrition journal.

Chrono-nutrition is distinct from intermittent fasting or fasting in the months of Ramadan. In contrast to chrono-nutrition, fasting is characterized by long periods of food restriction without regard to your body’s rhythmic circadian. Ramadan typically involves a shift between eating during the day and night and drinking throughout 29 to 30 days of fasting.

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Based on Hadith and the Quran, fasting during Ramadan is to achieve righteousness. It’s a sign of worship for each adult healthy Muslim. Furthermore, the Hadith strongly recommends other forms of voluntary fasting practices for Muslims all year round, like fasting during the seven days of Shawwal on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. These voluntary fasts mirror food timings during this month, called Ramadan.

Chrono-nutrition demonstrates how important it is to align your consumption with your circadian rhythm. Eating breakfast and avoiding late-night meals are essential elements. But what’s most important is deciding on a long-lasting food plan for you.

Omolara Funmilayo owns She is an accredited nutritionist and holistic wellbeing coach. She assists her clients by giving them the tools to transform their fitness and overall health for their families and themselves.

The article was reprinted in the Summer 2023 issue of Halal Consumer Magazine, with the permission of IFANCA in conjunction with Halal Consumer Magazine.


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