It’s important to pay attention not only to what you eat, but also when you eat it. Over the past few years, experts have come up with a number of dietary recommendations, including three meals a day, grazing throughout the day, eating a high-protein snack in the evening and following a low-fat diet. Despite changing recommendations, the number of overweight and obese people continues to climb.
According to the World Health Organization,1 Obesity nearly tripled from 1975 to 2016. In 2016, 39 percent of people aged 18 and over were overweight. Unfortunately, in 2018, this health hazard affected 40 million children under the age of 5.
obesity action2 An estimated 93 million Americans are reported to be obese, putting them at increased risk for reduced mobility and higher mortality. Of the 22 industrialized countries in the world, the United States has the highest number of obese citizens.3
This condition can lead to high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high cholesterol and triglycerides. As your BMI rises, so does your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. One counter recorded 751.4 million obese people worldwide.
Choose breakfast, not supper
Researchers at Vanderbilt University were interested in determining whether meal timing has an effect on how efficiently energy is burned.4,5 They tested the hypothesis that circadian rhythms regulate how food is metabolized during the day compared to the night.
To measure this, middle-aged and elderly participants remained in the breathing chamber during two separate 56-h intervention sessions. During each session, they provide three meals a day. In one session, they ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and in the other session, they ate lunch, dinner, and supper.
During each session, participants received the same amount of food and used the same amount of energy. At night, their respiratory exchange rates were measured. This unexpectedly revealed differences related to meal timing, with no relationship to physical activity or core body temperature.
The timing of their meals appeared to have an effect on lipid oxidation (LO). Compared with people who ate breakfast but skipped supper, people who ate supper burned less fat during the night. The amount of time participants fasted between their last meal of the day and their first meal the next day was the same in both sessions. The researchers concluded:6
“Thus, the timing of meals in the circadian cycle influences how much ingested food is used and stored. This study has important implications for eating habits, suggesting that daily fasting between dinner and breakfast will optimize weight management.”
Ultimately, this means that despite the fact that both groups ate and burned the same number of calories, the people who ate at night theoretically gained more weight than those who ate breakfast.
Weight Loss Alone Doesn’t Solve Health Problems
Several factors can affect weight loss, such as sleep habits, gut microbiota, and what and when you eat. You may think that if you can stay lean, you are healthy, but losing weight alone will not lead to optimal health.
While you may look healthy on the outside, you may face some of the same health challenges as someone who is overweight or obese. “Slim fat” is a term used to describe people who look thin on the outside but metabolize fat due to poor diet, unhealthy habits, and lack of sleep.
Being overweight is a known risk factor for diabetes, but researchers found that normal-weight people with type 2 diabetes had a higher risk of death than those who were overweight or obese.7 This is known as the “obesity paradox” and is also found in other chronic diseases.8
Some experts report that as many as 25 percent of people in the normal weight range have prediabetes.9 This may be the result of focusing on being thin rather than healthy. In other words, focusing on your weight instead of getting quality sleep, reducing stress, and eating a balanced diet may lead to poor outcomes.
Researchers have been writing about metabolically obese normal weight (MONW) individuals as far back as 1978.10 Recently, researchers found that type 2 diabetes is more frequently diagnosed in non-obese people in Asia.
In a 2017 study, researchers compared the two groups for insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, intra-abdominal fat, muscle and liver fat, and fasting and postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations.11 Control groups of MONW individuals and healthy individuals were matched for age, total body fat, and sex.
Compared with controls, MONW participants had nearly twice as much visceral fat and four times more liver fat. While hemoglobin A1c concentrations were similar between the groups, postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations were higher in the MONW group than in the control group.
This led the researchers to conclude that those with a MONW body type had greater fat accumulation in the abdominal and liver regions and increased insulin resistance, with a stronger insulin response to compensate for resistance. This suggests that overall health is not just about weight.
Fasting is a powerful tool
Intermittent fasting is an effective way to promote better eating habits and weight loss, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes,12 heart disease13 and cancer.14
intermittent fasting It doesn’t have to be difficult and can start gradually to help increase your potential for success. Basically, it’s a cycle of eating and fasting, trying to mimic the eating habits of our ancestors who didn’t have access to food 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This helps return your body to a more natural state.
Eating throughout the day — as opposed to intermittent fasting — means your body adapts to burning glucose as its primary fuel, which downregulates enzymes used to burn and store fat. Unfortunately, you then gradually become more insulin resistant and weight loss efforts may be ineffective.
It’s important to remember that intermittent fasting isn’t necessarily a form of calorie restriction. In other words, practice should make you feel good, not weak and lethargic. When your body starts burning fat as its primary fuel, sugar cravings start to subside and you feel fuller for longer.
However, intermittent fasting is not recommended if your daily intake is processed foods. In other words, when your diet is full of non-nutritious foods, this practice does not solve the problem of poor health and excess weight.
With intermittent fasting, you may experience several health benefits, including reduced insulin resistance, improved leptin sensitivity, lower triglycerides, and preventing or reversing type 2 diabetes. You’ll find these and more in my previous article, “22 Top Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.”
Eating Keto Lays the Foundation for Cellular Health
The practice of nutritional ketosis focuses on eating plenty of healthy fats. Aim for 70% to 85% of your total calories to come from healthy fats and 1 gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass. Focus on keeping your net carbs to no more than 4 to 10 percent of your daily calories.
Variations in net carbs take into account energy needs that vary from person to person, depending on physical activity. There is no regulation on the amount of fat you can eat, but you will need to limit carbohydrates and protein on a standard ketogenic diet.
Following a ketogenic diet will generally increase your energy levels and help you lose and maintain weight loss. Far more important than weight loss, it also helps support mitochondrial health and reduce inflammation.
This may play a role in reducing chronic and neuropathic pain.15 Many aging factors are influenced by mild inflammation, so a ketogenic diet may help reduce the risk of premature aging and chronic disease.16 This diet also helps reduce insulin resistance, which is linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
It has a positive effect on your immune system.Team from Yale University School of Medicine17 The theory that ketosis can prevent the flu was tested.18 They found that infected mice that ate a ketogenic diet were less likely to die from the virus than mice that were fed a standard diet.
Note that while at least one of the study’s authors told the news outlet that a flu shot is the best option, there are other, better ways to fight the flu, which I wrote in “Can Eating Keto Help Prevent the Flu?” described.
Fasting Periodic Nutritional Ketosis for Optimal Health
Using a periodic approach to a ketogenic nutrition plan will help increase the health benefits and allow you more flexibility in meal planning. To follow this plan, you need to do three things.19
- Limit net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) to 20 to 50 grams per day
- Get 50% to 85% of your daily calories from healthy fats
- limit protein to one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass
It’s important to maintain these ratios until your body burns fat for fuel. Use ketone strips to confirm that you are in ketosis, keeping in mind that it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for your body to effectively burn fat. Once you get into ketosis and it starts happening, start cycling in and out, eating more net carbs once or twice a week.
On high-carb days, triple your net carb intake to maximize the biological benefits of cell regeneration and renewal. However, I caution you to choose healthy alternatives such as resistant starch. Forgo the chips and bagels.
Fasting is a powerful lifestyle tool in the fight against obesity and insulin resistance. When you combine the power of fasting with the energy of keto, it creates a solid foundation for optimal health.