TIMING AND TYPE OF FOOD: The Key to Weight Maintenance (by NOT Gaining Excess Body Fat)Created by:
Ariel S. Torres, M.D.
Center Medical Doctor, International Slimming Center
Humans are catabolic at the start of the day, but anabolic at the end of the day. Therefore, “energy food” (carbohydrates) is preferred at the start of the day but “repair & replenishment food” (protein, fruits & vegetables) are ideal at the end of the day. These changes in metabolism throughout the day are part of the Diurnal Variation in humans.
The diagram shows percentages of Macronutrients. In infant milk formula, those for 0-6 months have more fat for thermogenesis since babies are prone to hypothermia. The volume of their nutrition intake is also not yet as established together with their immunity so fat will provide extra calories as well as protection. Those for 6-12 months have more protein for increased growth. It is at this period where a sudden growth in length (as well as width - together with everything else) occurs. This culminates at 12 months old were the infant is now three times of his/her Birth Weight. (Imagine if you were 150 lbs now, and then in one year's time, you are already 450 lbs. That's what happens during the first year of life in humans.) So increased protein to cope up with these demands is needed. While those for 12-36 months have more carbohydrates for increased activity. Toddlers are now able to crawl, sit, stand, walk and eventually run. Energy food is now needed for these activities. But all Milk Formulas have the same value of 22 kilocalories per ounce. Only the percentage of the macronutrients (Carbo, Fat, Protein) is tweaked for the reasons I mentioned above.
In adult meals, your breakfast should have more energy food to last you for the day while your dinner should have more repair and replenishment food in preparation for sleep. You lunch is more or less a balanced meal. So carbohydrates like bread, cereals, even oatmeal are good choices at the start of the day (breakfast). It doesn’t have to be exclusively carbohydrate. You can add milk, a fruit, or even nuts for protein, fiber, and dairy but carbohydrate is a must. Now at the end of the day (dinner), you don’t need energy food anymore since you don’t have energy requiring activities left to do . . . , at least not as much. What you need are protein, vitamins and minerals that your body will be using even when you are sleeping. Cells die every day (apoptosis) and get damaged (normal innocuous cellular injuries that don’t manifest outwardly). Protein is needed for these body building activities. Most of the vitamins and minerals that you used the whole day can also be easily replaced during this long rest period (sleep).
But in computing for the calories per day per food group, it would still be the same everyday. It used to be 60-30-10 (classic). They changed that to 60-25-15 (revolutionary). Now it’s 50-30-20 (current but controversial). The classic percentage was based on the idea that people were still active. It was a totally different period where mass transit was not yet as well established. People really had to walk to their place of destination most of the time. Everything was still done manually like washing clothes with your bare hands (not washing machine) or cutting the lawn with long-blade cutters while your kneeling on the grass (not lawn mowers). Then a revolutionary (?) breakthrough in medicine blamed fat (specifically butter and margarine) in the diet for heart attacks and strokes. So fat became the enemy and so its percentage was lowered by 5%. The agricultural business was now shifting from corn and rice to cattle meat products. A “mesomorph” body was gaining ground with people wanting to have a buff body so protein (mostly beef) was then increased by 5%. Currently, we now know the difference between bad fat and good fat. The Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) are small enough to lodge in the crevices inside blood vessels (when there is damage in the Intimal Lining/Layer mostly due to uncontrolled hypertension), more so with Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL) which are even smaller. They build up slowly and eventually cause a clogged artery. High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) are just slightly bigger that they cannot lodge in the small crevices. In fact, they even clean the blood vessels of LDL and VLDL by making these smaller items adhere to them. So polyunsaturated (good) fat is now being promoted so fat percentage in food is now back to 30% as long as it is a good choice of fat. Due to the industrial and electronic age at the turn of the century, people are now doing less so the need for carbohydrates was decreased by 10%. Environmental toxins have also become abundant so more cellular death and repair of tissues is needed, hence the increase in protein by 10%. Sad to say but all of these are still controversial and needs more research for validation but the theories behind them are sound and based on Medical Physiology.
Now instead of dictating what the client should eat, what I do is just adjust what they are already eating, so I give them a blank form to fill up (Nutrition Survery). Other than computing for their Daily Caloric Allowance based on their height, weight, age, gender, activity, and totaling their calories per day - I also give specific comments. For example, eating oatmeal at night is not advisable since it’s considered an energy fiber. So I just tell the client to eat oatmeal at breakfast. Sometimes just adjusting the timing and the type of the food without changing the total calories per day is already enough.