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Chrononutrition- Understanding how your body works.

Chrononutrition- Understanding how your body works.

Chrononutrition is a way of eating while respecting the hormonal and enzymatic secretions of the body. This is a diet developed by Dr. Delabos that goes against some of our eating habits but may have positive health effects.

Characteristics of chrononutrition:

  • Consists of eating according to enzymatic and hormonal secretions
  • Very important concept of schedules
  • Few deviations allowed
  • Portions calculated according to size and morphotype

The main principles of the regime

In 1986, Dr. Delabos developed the concept of chrononutrition. This eating pattern is based on the premise that undernutrition in the elderly is often linked to the fixed nature of meals, both in terms of timing and composition. After studying the biological and metabolic rhythms of the human body and the instinctive eating habits of our distant ancestors, he came to the conclusion that it is not the choice of foods or the amounts that are lacking, but the time of day when they are consumed. This new theory is not unanimously accepted and is still strongly criticized by health professionals.

How to lose weight with chrononutrition?

In chrononutrition, we find major principles important to achieve and maintain a healthy weight:

Good eating habits must be maintained for life

  • Do not consume low-fat foods
  • Never change the order of meals
  • Possibility of having 2 joker meals per week during which everything is allowed
  • Never increase the proportion of vegetables in dishes or eat them between meals (eat more meat to satisfy yourself)
  • The quantities of food allowed are to be defined according to the size and morphology of the person.

Why does meal timing make such a difference?

Our bodies function in a cycle – known as the circadian rhythm – that helps oversee the regulatory processes each day. These patterns help the body run efficiently, but erratic eating habits, especially late-night eating, and altered sleep schedules can throw them out of whack. Even exposure to artificial light at night can affect the circadian rhythm. Fortunately, the body is highly adaptable. If you’ve ever travelled across multiple time zones, the jet lag you experienced is the body’s attempt to readjust its rhythm to the new schedule.

Still, some sleep/wake schedules and mealtimes may better support health than others. Historically, humans ate during daylight hours and slept during night time hours; their bodies would produce hormones to align with the needs of the particular time (e.g., producing melatonin at night and cortisol during the day). Now, however, modern living doesn’t always stick to the same schedule.

The following tips can help you align eating and sleeping habits to your body’s natural tendencies. You may not even need to switch your diet (although quality is certainly important!) – simply adjust your mealtimes to support optimal metabolism and reduce the risk of weight gain and obesity-related conditions.

1. Plan a nutritious breakfast. Many find themselves too busy to eat a significant breakfast and often grab something light on the go or wait until the next meal to eat. This often leads to eating more later in the day. Research shows that a higher-calorie breakfast and a lower-calorie dinner can help support weight loss and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.

For a filling and nutritious way to start your day, try avocado and a poached egg on a slice of whole-grain bread or oatmeal with pecans, coconut flakes, and berries.

2. Get on a regular sleeping schedule. Sleeping during daylight hours and working during night time hours may also impact metabolism, leading to a greater chance of putting on weight. In fact, because of this phenomenon, people who work the night shift may experience changes in weight, even if their diet stays the same.

Regardless of your schedule, try to get about eight hours of sleep per day – even better if it’s around the same time every day. Create a calm and dark space where you can wind down and settle into a restful sleep.

3. Eat smaller portions in the evening and enjoy larger portions of nutritious foods earlier in the day. Larger meals in the evening are customary in many cultures, especially in the United States, but switching to a more substantial lunch and eating less in the evening may help support weight loss and insulin sensitivity.

Experiment with smaller portions and lightened-up options for dinner, like a nutritious soup, an omelette, or a veggie-based bowl, and eating more “dinner-sized” meals for lunch.

What would a typical day meal plan look like ?

Breakfast: eat animal fats and whole-grain carbs. According to Delabos, our bodies secrete plenty of the enzymes that handle fats and protein when we wake up, so breakfast can be a rich, greasy meal with bread, butter, eggs, ham, sausage and cheeses. This meal fills you up so that you’re less hungry during the day. A baguette smeared with cheese, or scrambled eggs with ham? So worth getting up for!

Lunch: mostly protein (animal or other) along with about 8 tablespoons worth of starchy carbs like rice, pasta, potatoes, or beans. No vegetables! Save them for dinner. According to le doctor, the mineral salts in vegetables eaten during the day cause weight gain and cellulite. Wow, first time we’ve heard a doctor not recommending veggies!

Afternoon Snack: eat a small bit of vegetable fats: avocado, olives, nuts, peanut butter, honey or 30 grams of dark chocolate – a little over two tablespoons worth. Or fruit.

Dinner: this is the lightest meal of the day, with fish, shellfish, lean meats, and eight tablespoons of green vegetables. Or if you’re still full from the other meals, just skip it!

References:

Johnston, JD (2014) Physiological responses to food intake throughout the day. Nutr Res Rev 27, 107–118.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Mendoza, J (2007) Circadian clocks: setting time by food. J Neuroendocrinol 19, 127–137.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Halberg, F (1989) Some aspects of the chronobiology of nutrition – more work is needed on when to eat. J Nutr 119, 333–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Waterhouse, J, Minors, D, Atkinson, G et al. (1997) Chronobiology and meal times: internal and external factors. B J Nutr 77, Suppl. 1, S29–S38.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Damiola, F, Le Minh, N, Preitner, N et al. (2000) Restricted feeding uncouples circadian oscillators in peripheral tissues from the central pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Genes Dev 14, 2950–2961.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Hara, R, Wan, K, Wakamatsu, H et al. (2001) Restricted feeding entrains liver clock without participation of the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Genes Cell 6, 269–278.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

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