What time is it?

Nutrition specialists have long advised against late night eating.

While weight management IS just a mathematical equation – calorie intake versus calorie output – there are many complicating factors.

Among those factors:

  • poor late night food choices – we’re not eating our steel cut oatmeal at midnight
  • not allowing the body to “fast” before the morning meal – it is called breakFAST
  • disrupted sleep – adequate sleep helps our hormones which, in turn, help regulate satiety and hunger
  • calories are needed when they are used – during the day!

Many nutrition-related studies came out of last week’s American Heart Association’s meeting. One of which was a study of Hispanic and Latino Americans. This Columbia U study showed that high blood pressure and pre-diabetes were most common in people eating 30% of their calories after 6 PM. (I’m not certain if this was before the time change, but you get the drift.) Late night eating is a problem.

This study did NOT look at obesity, but we know the incidence and the degree of obesity has been on the rise for the last couple decades. What has changed? One of many changes is certainly the availability of food 24/7. In the old days (yes, I just said that), there were distinct mealtimes with a “fast” between dinner and breakfast.

Today, that doesn’t occur. In fact, for those of you following diet trends, intermittent fasting seems popular and “effective”. We need to allow the body to digest and metabolize our food. When we said “snacking” every few hours was healthy, we didn’t mean a full meal’s worth of calories every few hours was healthy.

Let’s slow down. Eat the earliest dinner as reasonable. Fast during the night and eat a nutritious breakfast. The old adage: eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like Prince William – was probably more helpful than most nutrition advice to be well.

Marcia

 

 

 

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Dates

Which date came first to mind?

I was thinking of neither.

And isn’t that date palm tree shockingly laden with dates?

Recently, I was interviewed about DATES  on milk cartons and other foods. Of course, it got me to thinking and opening up my own fridge.

While the dates manufacturers print on to food packages are misleading, I don’t think it’s intentional. Sorting it out does not have to be  difficult.The first thing we need to do is read the words. Dates can be:

  • Expiration
  • Sell by
  • Use by
  • Best if used by

Surprisingly, federal law does not mandate dates on packages with the exception of baby formula. The dates you see printed on your milk carton or other products are voluntarily put their by the manufacturer. They indicate quality characteristics, not safety issues. Hmmmm.

What should the cautious consumer do with that information? First, have some confidence that food processing in the US is safe and well-monitored. But, we consumers must handle food safely from the grocery to the table. The grocery should be your last stop on your errand list. Foods should be put away promptly – frozen or refrigerated.

Leaving food out on the counter during meal preparation or table while you’re eating and then returning it to storage is really looking for trouble. Thawing meats at room temperature is a huge problem.

Environmental temperature matters. Foods taken to cookouts, picnics, tailgates and such can be problematic since outdoor temps are frequently warm.

Certain foods are more fragile than others meaning they have the shortest life span even if you are careful about storage. Meat, poultry, eggs and dairy foods are at the top of the list.

So, the first piece of advice we give – if in doubt, throw it out. But just as importantly, careful planning, shopping and not overbuying along with proper food handling will keep your food safe and you will be well,

Marcia

 

 

 

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