Expert interviewed: Jin Hui, Chief Physician, Department of Clinical Nutrition, Zhongda Hospital Affiliated to Southeast University
Global Times health client reporter Wang Bingjie
In recent years, in addition to the traditional “three meals a day”, new-style brunch, lunch and dinner have become popular in China. Many people find it very comfortable to have brunch after staying in bed and then lunch later. However, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that the risk of death increased when the interval between meals was less than 4.5 hours.
University of Iowa, University of Tennessee The researchers selected 24,011 participants aged 40 and over in the “American Health and Nutrition Examination Survey” database, collected a series of data on their meal frequency, interval time, fasting, and followed up for 15 years. Among them, 1,116 ate only one meal a day, 6,315 ate two meals a day, 13,626 ate three meals a day, and the rest ate four or more meals a day.
The analysis found that the time interval between meals was actually related to mortality. Among the people who ate three meals a day, compared with those whose meal intervals were between 4.6 and 5.5 hours, those whose meal intervals were less than 4.5 hours had a 17% increased risk of all-cause death and a 22% increased risk of cardiovascular disease death.
Jin Hui, Chief Physician of the Clinical Nutrition Department of Zhongda Hospital Affiliated to Southeast University, told the “Global Times Health Client” reporter that three meals a day are the most suitable Meal frequency of islet working rhythm and gastrointestinal emptying time. The short interval between two meals means that the body is almost in a “continuous eating state” and needs to continuously secrete insulin to adjust blood sugar status, which can cause impaired insulin sensitivity and lead to subsequent metabolic problems. This may explain the interval between two meals Association between time and mortality. In addition, gastrointestinal emptying usually takes 4 to 5 hours. If the interval between two meals is too short, the last meal has not been fully digested, and the next meal will come again. The stomach and intestines are always digesting food without interruption, which is prone to indigestion, and even gastric ulcers, gastric erosions and other problems.
The study also found that three meals a day, no one can eat less. Compared with participants who ate three meals a day, those who ate one meal and two meals a day had a 30% and 7% increased risk of all-cause mortality, and an 83% and 10% increase in cardiovascular disease mortality. Specifically, skipping breakfast is the most harmful, increasing the risk of all-cause death by 11%, and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease death by 40%; 16%, 19%. Researchers believe that eating less than one meal a day means that the body cannot obtain sufficient nutrition, and then there is often a meal with a large energy load, or even overeating, which increases the burden of glucose metabolism regulation. health problems.
Two meals a day, similar to the time-restricted eating method, that is, intermittent Sexual fasting. “Today, intermittent fasting is widely recognized as a regimen for weight loss, maintaining metabolic health and preventing disease, but our findings suggest that It is still very important to eat at least three meals a day and the interval between meals is more than 4.5 hours.”
Compared with the 2016 edition, “China In the “Dietary Balance Guidelines” extracted from the Dietary Guidelines for Residents (2022), the item “eating regular meals and drinking enough water” has been added, which shows the importance of regular meals. Under normal circumstances, it is recommended to have breakfast between 6:30~8:30, lunch between 11:30~13:30, and dinner between 18:00~20:00, preferably no less than 20 minutes.
Jin Hui suggested that the interval between meals should be 5-6 hours. Since the digestion time of carbohydrates such as rice and noodles is short, and the digestion time of protein and fat is relatively long, the dietary structure of each meal will affect the meal time. For example, many Chinese people only eat a bowl of porridge and a steamed bun for breakfast. They have more carbohydrates and less protein, and they get hungry quickly, so the time interval between the next meal and the next meal will naturally be shortened.
As the beginning of three meals, breakfast is the most important. Jin Hui reminded that protein such as milk and eggs is an essential food for breakfast. On this basis, sweet potatoes and other miscellaneous grains can be added with some vegetables and fruits; lunch must have a portion of meat (about “a palm-sized”), and a plate of vegetables, A fist-sized staple food; you really need to eat less for dinner. Nowadays, many people have dinner after 19:00 or even later, and they do less exercise after meals, so the amount of staple food needs to be properly controlled. If you are hungry between meals, you don’t have to endure it blindly. You can drink a cup of sugar-free yogurt, eat some fruit or a small handful of nuts to pad your stomach without increasing the total calorie intake throughout the day, which will not affect normal energy consumption. Three meals are enough. ▲
Source: Life Times