Northwest Nutrition in the Media 2

by Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Posted on Aug 12, 03:52 PM in . No comments.

This month (August), I have been in print and on the radio, commenting on similar themes. It was exciting to be asked to speak on the radio and it was a great experience.

Here’s what Ive been commenting on this month.

Combatting hunger

On Tuesday 7th August I was on air on BBC Merseyside, Breakfast Radio, commenting on the new University of Liverpool grant to research products that make us feel full. This is a project which hopes to have a positive impact on reducing obesity rates in the UK and Europe.

I am really interested in this study and am all in favour of discovering new ways to help combat obesity and will be interested to see what comes of the results. It does have to be taken into account, however, that even though some food and nutrients have been known to increase our feelings of fullness, (satiety), there isn’t that much evidence to show that satiety has a big impact on obesity rates. That is, we need to take into account that people can and will overeat even though they don’t feel hungry. How many of us have had something extra to eat, even though we are not hungry? I’m sure its most of us.

There are a lot of factors influencing hunger, however, and for some people; this will be the thing that helps in preventing being overweight. I will be writing a new post soon on ways to fight hunger/keeping the “hungries” at bay.

You can hear me here from 2:08 . For a limited time only.

Breakfast like a King?

My second media input this month has been for Weightwatchers Magazine (September 2012 issue). I was asked to comment on eating patterns, the impact of shift work and when is the best time to eat. There has been quite a lot of recent evidence to show that shift workers are at risk of being overweight with associated diabetes and heart disease. There has also been quite a bit recently on lack of sleep and this leading to a higher risk of being overweight.

There is quite a link between our body clock and the hormones which regulate feelings of hunger and of fullness.

Not only can lack of sleep can make us put on weight but high fat diets can also impact on sleep.

It’s a bit difficult to decipher the mechanism of how high fat diets impact on sleep as lots of the studies I’ve read actually conclude the change in sleep rhythm is caused by the obesity resulting from high fat diets. There are quite a few links between being heavy and poor sleep and a disrupted circadian rhythm. I did find one study, however, that just looked at a high fat diet over a short period and they observed actual changes in genes that encode the clock in the brain and in peripheral tissues (such as fat), resulting in diminished expression of those genes. So there may be more to it!

I think often it’s a sort of a vicious cycle – weight gain starts, clock is disrupted and then eating patterns are disrupted, weight gain happens and so on.

When it comes to meals and timings, the old school of thought was that breakfast was important to “kick start” metabolism. The old saying – “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dine like a pauper” used to be the adage to live by.

I had a good look at the evidence supporting this statement and have to say this one was well worth looking at because I’ve found out that there is not much evidence to support this. It’s pretty much an old wives tale- there isn’t any really evidence. This applies to the “don’t eat carbs after a certain hour” thing too…no scientific basis.

In fact, there isn’t much evidence that metabolic rate will be altered or is different when eating meals at different times or in differing sizes. There isn’t much evidence for there being a better time to have larger meals versus smaller meals either.

I think the statement is based on activity levels, (late night eating is usually coupled with sedentary activities ), an old idea of reduced digestion time in the evening and the fact that people who eat later and have their larger meal at that time tend to consume more calories at that meal or even throughout the night.

The best thing is to get a fairly even balance through each meal.

Breakfast is still vital though. There is no doubt that breakfast is probably the most important meal of the day as it replenishes your glucose stores, which provide the brain with fuel. It also marks the start of the day, which helps to reinforce a harmonious circadian rhythm.

Skipping breakfast has been related to obesity and to poor health behaviours and poor nutrient intakes. It’s important in terms of appetite regulation as well as replenishing the brain’s glucose stores.

So what can we conclude? Regular meals with an even balance through the day and get a good night’s sleep.

Tags: Bbc, Breakfast, Hunger, Media, Metabolism, Radio, Satiety

About the author

Anne Myers-Wright RD/APD

Anne is a Health Professions Council (HPC) registered dietitian (RD), an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD- Australia), a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), a member of the British Dietetic Association, The Nutrition Society and of The Dietetics Association of Australia.

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