December 26, 2012

What’s the best time to eat…3+3 Rule

Most people know that eating in the right proportion is critical to our health. What we also need to know is that eating at the right time is equally critical for our health as well! An old adage advised people to "eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper."  How many of us follow this religiously? Or do we eat all meals like a king? 

Eating a big breakfast – Eat a big meal in the morning, so that the body gets plenty of energy to start the day – if coupled with moderate exercise, it would enhance your rate of metabolism (burning calories) through the rest of the day! But overeating should be avoided, as too many carbs in the morning would get you crashing down in the afternoon, once sugar levels stabilize. Breakfast should ideally be eaten within an hour of getting up and should not be avoided. People who skip breakfast are a third more likely to be obese

A long, large lunch – The basic difference between European style of eating and Americans is that Europeans have a lavish lunch, while Americans save that for their dinner. This might partly explain why Europe's obesity levels are lower than those of the U.S. Eating a large lunch is better for the body than eating a big dinner because it means that calories consumed throughout the day are more evenly distributed, and satiety is also more even throughout the day. But again, whatever extra goes in gets saved in your fat-bank! 

Snack-sized meals throughout the day – Small portions through the day, with smaller intervals, are also a good idea, as long as the definition of ‘small’ is clear. Incidentally, that is where most diet plans fail. If taken in line with target calorie consumption, it helps in keep the metabolism higher and feeling of fullness all the time. 

A big dinner -Most of us get our families together at dinner time, which is when everyone returns from work / college / school. As a result, we tend to have our biggest meal at night! While the idea of getting together is a big stress buster for kids, it is not best for your family’s health. Solution – Have smaller portions in dinner – and eat slowly by chewing more! This can accomplish the goals of both getting in some bonding time, as well as maintaining a healthy weight

Late-night eating - A big problem with eating late at night is that it does not burn those extra calories, and also does not allow the rest of the food (dinner) to be digested! Going to bed soon after eating means that more calories will be converted to fat; one should stay up for at least 2-3 hours after the meal, & one hour after snack Additionally, staying up should mean maintaining some level of activity, not zoning out in front of the TV. Sitting in the "recliner” is the same as going into the bed – and equally harmful!

Three meals with three snacks in between - Having three meals is important – the division of calorie-intake is up to the individual schedule and energy requirements. If the body goes more than four or five hours without eating, this will effect metabolism and how likely overindulgence is at the next meal. So snack with small portions in between.

In a nutshell, don’t get into fads like fasting diets or skipping meals. 3meals-3snacks approach and a balanced consumption of calories is all this is required to eat your day out!

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