“It is not only what you eat and how much you eat that is important for a healthy lifestyle, but when you eat is also very important”
Postdoctoral fellow Shu-qun Shi, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2013.
Eating too much food and too much of the wrong sort of food (the modern meat-heavy, sugar-rich, highly-processed and low-fibre diet), in the evening will not only stress your liver but also make it harder for you to sleep. The 7pm-10pm period is where many people overeat, and eat the worst kinds of foods alongside a good whack of alcohol. Instead of going to bed at 9 or 10 p.m. and having a long, deep sleep, waking early to greet the day, what do we do? We stay up late, sitting and watching television, usually after sitting in the car or on the bus, sitting while working, sitting while eating an unhealthy high calorie lunch, and then we sit while eating dinner! Then what do we do? We sit some more while we watch television! At night we eat, and we eat the worse kinds of foods: pizza, hamburgers, chips, biscuits, lollies, alcohol and chocolate drinks (because sleepy people make bad food choices).
“People have suspected that our cells’ response to insulin had a circadian cycle, but we are the first to have actually measured it. The master clock in the central nervous system drives the cycle and insulin response follows”
Owen McGuinness, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 2013.
The time you eat matters
Researchers have shown that disruption in the body’s circadian rhythm can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The really interesting part is that insulin activity is controlled by the body’s circadian biological clock; when you eat – as well as what you eat – matters. Most types of cells contain their own molecular clocks, all of which are controlled by a ‘master circadian clock’ in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain.
By altering our behaviour slightly – miracles can happen.
Try making the following small changes
- Finish your meal by 7pm
- Then brush your teeth (this sends a signal to the brain saying ‘that’s it, not more food today’)
- This is a fantastic deterrent and helps when you feel tempted to grab that packet of chips or biscuits at 8:30pm
- Make a cup of sleep-inducing tea and sip on it
- Get busy with a project
- Sit and read a book
- Go to bed a little earlier so that you wake up fresh and enthusiastic (this also leads to better food habits in the morning and afternoon)
Jason wishes to deeply thank, acknowledge and recognise the effort and contribution that the PIF Foundation has provided on a voluntary basis since 2014, as we educated, motivated and inspired change that helps transform the health, vitality and longevity of people all over the world.