Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Circadian Rhythms and the Right Times to Feed Ourselves

We expend much time and effort focusing on the quality and quantity of food consumed. There's no question that switching out processed foods for whole, organic foods is key to good nutrition. So is paying attention to how much one eats.

But we don't place enough emphasis on the frequency and circadian timing of meals. Recent research investigated the role that our evolutionary body clock has on when we should eat. For most of human history, our lifestyles have followed a natural light/dark rhythm with most of our activity and food consumption occurring during daylight and not much other than sleep during darkness.

Mouse Study
Two groups of mice were fed a poor-quality, high-fat diet (akin to the typical American diet). Both groups received the same number of calories. One group ate whenever they wanted in 24 hours, while the other ate only during an 8hr window in sync with a mouse's circadian rhythm. Results:
8hr feeding time: optimal body composition, motor coordination improved
24 hr feeding time: overweight, diabetic, hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels in the blood), fatty liver disease, inflammation

A follow up study found that the time-restricted mice remained lean and healthy, even when their feeding time was increased to a 9-12 hour window and they were allowed "weekend cheats." Halfway through the study, the unrestrained eaters were switched over to a 9-12hr feeding window and they began to shed the extra weight they had gained via non-time-restricted feeding.

Human Advice
Eating by our natural body clock means that consumption happens when the body is more efficient at breaking down foods. The metabolic system evolved to make fuel and energy available at specific times of the day. Once daylight fades into nighttime and feeding ends, we enter a unique alternative metabolic phase. In the nonfeeding state, the body's process of regeneration and repair begins. Cells recycle their contents to promote optimal health and prevent disease. Researchers found that 12- 16 hours of non-feeding reduces excess body fat while lowering levels of insulin and blood sugar. He also found that it's healthful for the body to impose the mild cellular stress of 12-16 hours of non-feeding, as it strengthens cells' ability to adapt and cope with more severe stresses like disease and aging.

The easiest and most basic plan is to feed within a 12 hour window, ideally in sync with the light/dark cycle. Increasing the nonfeeding time to anywhere between 12 and 16 hours enhances the health benefits of the regenerative period.

Full Article

What are some of your experiences with time restricted eating (sometimes called intermittent fasting)?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

IDEA Expo 2018

The IDEA (International Dance Exercise Association) had its World Convention this past weekend in San Diego. I attended the Expo, which showcases new products in fitness equipment, supplements, and programs. There was a lot of equipment that used instability to focus on balance.
For example, this is a bar with suspended balls on either side. The balls are filled with water, so that as Luis does overhead presses or squats, the exercise becomes much more difficult and awkward if he is off center. There was another piece of equipment with steel balls inside a bar. If you tilt to one side, the bar becomes much more weighted on one side than the other.
Resistance bands were also popular in a lot of the exercise equipment. I'm using a piece of equipment called Frog Fitness. It's basically two axles with wheels on either side and resistance bands connecting the two axles. The demo guy had me do a leg press movement, a shoulder press movement, and a pike-like movement, all while prone and suspended over the "Frog."

In the supplement area, protein was the most popular. There was protein fizzy water, protein chips, egg white chips, protein cookies, protein coffee, protein desserts, and of course protein bars.

The Expo was a good opportunity to see the latest and greatest in the fitness industry. Expo passes are usually free, so I encourage you to check it out if you're interested next year.