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Show 1094: Does It Matter When You Eat?

Show 1094: Does It Matter When You Eat?

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For decades, epidemiologists have noted that people who eat breakfast seem to weigh less and live longer. But it hasn't been clear if eating breakfast helps people stay healthy, or if healthy people tend to eat breakfast. How much does that matter when people in the US appear to have switched from eating three meals every day to eating or snacking multiple times a day? Does when you eat affect your health?

When You Eat and How That Affects Your Health:

Our guest, Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, studies the effects of meal timing on our health. She has found that sleep disruption is also linked to dietary disturbances. Our internal clocks appear to respond to food intake in ways we might not intend.

Changes in when you eat may affect how your hormones behave. For example, eating late in the evening tends to increase insulin resistance so that you don't utilize the energy as efficiently. What you eat matters as well. Apparently, consuming a lot of sugar could put you at risk of developing a fatty liver.

Is Fasting Helpful?

Some studies have compared alternate day fasting to everyday calorie restriction as weight control strategies. They appear to lead to very similar weight loss. And weight does matter: losing as little as 5% of body weight can improve glucose tolerance, reduce inflammation and tune up the lipid profile.

Learn how to create a healthful cycle with adequate sleep, regular exercise and a smart diet. Find out which functional foods can be helpful, and why, if you choose to eat chocolate (yum), you should make sure it is high-quality chocolate!

This Week's Guest:

Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, FAHA, is Associate Professor of Nutritional Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. She is on the faculty of the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center and the Institute of Human Nutrition of the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University. Photo by © ASCO/Todd Buchanan 2016

The AHA Scientific Statement issued by a committee that Dr. St-Onge chaired was published in Circulation on January 30, 2017.

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