Yo yo diets


Gyms are full this time of year.   The cycle of partying in December and regretting in January is a predictable diet cycle in our North American culture where food is plentiful and fast food  handy.

But maybe it’s not so much a question of which diet to follow if you’re not happy with your body image.  BBC News Two, on its program: Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, recently made a good point about the timing of eating following an old adage:

“Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper.” It appears to be true. If you must have that fry-up, have it for breakfast.

Our bodies really don’t appreciate dealing with lots of food late at night. Various studies using both mice and humans have shown that a midnight snack will have a worse impact on your body than the same food eaten earlier in the day.   For example, a few years ago Prof. Satchidananda Panda, from the world-famous Salk Institute in California, showed that mice fed on a high-fat diet, but only allowed to eat that diet within an eight-hour window, were healthier and slimmer than mice that were given exactly the same food but allowed to eat it whenever they wanted.

So changing the time of eating rather than what you’re eating has significant health and weight loss impact ‘without really trying”.

Sticking rigidly to a reduced eating window for many people who work crazy hours or have family eating time restrictions may not be entirely practical, but there does seem to be benefit from doing it when you can – and it is certainly a good idea to avoid the midnight cheeseburger.