In his latest interview with the Luxemburger Wort, Dr Torsten Bohn of the Nutrition and Health Research Group explains the concept of “Chrono-Nutrition”. According to Dr Bohn, you shouldn’t just watch what you eat, but when you eat as well.
As Dr Bohn makes clear in the interview, our digestive system follows a circadian rhythm, like the rest of our bodily functions. Digestive enzymes are typically most active during the day and therefore this is when we should be doing the majority of our eating. While this may be difficult for many people, Dr Bohn says a good rule of thumb is to not eat anything (or only a little) three to four hours before bed. In this same vein, he recommends eating a big breakfast and lunch, but a smaller dinner. According to Dr Bohn, the old proverb “eat like an emperor in the morning, like a king at noon, and like a beggar in the evening” is likely to be valid.
Another aspect mentioned in the interview is the importance of fasting periods, as suggested by recent studies. This is in line with the idea of “intermittent fasting” where fasting periods are extended, even during the day. According to Dr Bohn, the body seems to forgive unhealthy eating patterns such as high-fat diets better if they are interspersed with longer fasting periods.
Dr Bohn also explains how evidence from animal studies shows that eating less is beneficial for overall longevity – as long as one’s diet contains all essential nutrients in a balanced fashion – as cells become more resilient to stress when allotted fewer calories. Although the 40% caloric reduction in animal trials is not feasible – and far from desired – it appears that a ten to twenty percent reduction may be possible, albeit difficult to achieve. For those of us who do not want to curb our calories, it is good to know that modifying one’s temporal eating habits can have virtually the same effect in terms of weight and metabolic parameters. Compared to some other diets, especially the more extreme, the Chrono-Diet appears to have virtually no pitfalls or hazards. Thus, eat heartily, but sparingly!
The full interview is in German and can be found in the print version of the Wort and online.
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