Not all diets are equal. Some diets aim to shed inches off the waist while others are designed to cleanse the body or assist with proper biological health. The Chronodiet is another approach to healthy nutrition that is founded on the fundamentals of chronobiology.
What is the Chronodiet?
Like all other areas of chronobiology research, the Chronodiet is centered around the concept of eating the right thing at the right time to achieve optimal results. The Chronodiet is designed to adjust the timing and content of meals to be in tune with the times your body optimally absorbs and processes particular foods and supplements. Unlike most short-term diet solutions that require counting calories or meal-replacement shakes the Chronodiet keeps joy and variety in mealtime, allowing you to continue to enjoy your favorite foods.
When it comes to implementing the Chronodiet, calories aren’t just calories, that is why the types of foods that are consumed for each meal is just as essential as the proper timing of meals. At breakfast and dinner, one must be critically aware of eating the right types of food to gain optimal results.
The basic principles of the Chronodiet and thus of our biological makeup suggest that to obtain optimal health and weight loss results, carbohydrates are not the enemy, despite what some trendy diets claim, and should be served in the morning at breakfast time. In comparison, at dinner time, carbohydrates should be avoided and the evening meal should focus on proteins.
Why Eat Carbs in the Morning?
Despite what trendy diets promote, chronobiologically-speaking, carbohydrates should be the main focus for morning breakfast. When our body is provided carbohydrates, specifically complex-carbohydrates, they are broken down slowly, ultimately slowing the body’s insulin response time and providing our body energy over a prolonged period of time. That being said, carb-lovers rejoice, those country potatoes are good to go first thing in the morning. But one thing the Western diet has a lot of when it comes to morning options, is sugar. Rest assured, there is a healthy solution.
“The one thing that you have to focus on with eating carbohydrates in the morning is that the carbohydrates are not delivered too quickly,” says German doctor, author and chronobiologist
Dr. Jan-Dirk Fauteck. “This means that if you are using fructose as a source of carbohydrates, fructose being the sugars of the fruits such as found in a smoothie, you understand that this fructose goes immediately into your blood and it is immediately activating your insulin system which drops your glycemia (blood glucose levels). This is a quick effect and therefore the energy will not last as long as you want to have it. Because of this, you need complex carbohydrates in the morning.”
Unlike complex-carbohydrates, simple carbs, such as those obtained from sugars, provide immediate energy for only a short period of time. Because of this, it is important to ensure that carbohydrates consumed in the morning are complex. But be at ease smoothie-lovers, your morning fruit drinks don’t have to be a thing of the past. With simple ingredient modifications, these high-sugar drinks can be tricked into being slowly absorbed by the body as though they are complex-carbs.
“What you can do in the morning if you want to have a smoothie or juice, which have a lot of fructose and is delivered very quickly, is you add a teaspoon of oil to these smoothies. By doing this, then the sugar is delivered very slowly and then it transforms to act like a complex sugar or carbohydrate,” says Fauteck. “That is the easiest way to arrange your breakfast. If you want to use fruits or smoothies or such products with such high quantities of simple sugar, using a little bit of good oil will change the bio ability of these sugars.”
But I Love Eggs at Breakfast Time!
If you are one of the many individuals that love their morning scrambled eggs, fear not. Like the ability to alter how sugars are absorbed by adding a little oil, proteins such as eggs can be altered as well by adding the simple condiment of black pepper.
“Pepper breaks down proteins better, so the proteins can be used in different forms. At night we use proteins to bring the body back to a state of restoring so the proteins are not used to produce energy. In the morning we want to have energy so if we are using proteins we have to put these proteins in the direction of energy,” says Fauteck. “If you want to have eggs then not too much, just one or two eggs a week, and together with black pepper. Adding pepper to your egg in the morning helps metabolize the proteins quicker.”
Sleep Tight; Eat Proteins at Night
Unlike complex-carbohydrates which can help fuel and energize the body throughout the day, proteins can help the body prepare for overnight fasting during the sleeping hours.
“Proteins are not useful for the morning, and proteins are given mostly at night because they are not so rich in energy. The energy you get from proteins is not as high as it is in carbs, and at night we don’t need the excess energy. What we do need at night, however, is to feel full. The sensation of being hungry is blocked by proteins,” Fautick says.
The biological truth is that at night certain proteins can enhance specific hormones, such as the growth hormone, that are linked to assisting in proper sleeping patterns by means of the melatonin hormone, and the feeling of satiety.
To recap, if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, properly fuel and replenish your body, or are simply looking to begin healthy dietary habits, focus on carbs in the morning to provide an increase in energy and proteins at night to helps you overcome the resting period at night so you don’t feel like indulging in some mid-night snacking.