Q & A with Dr. Kantor on Heart Disease
Skipping breakfast can increase risk for coronary heart disease for many different reasons, some may be simply related to lifestyle and others may be more related to the biological mechanisms. Some theories conclude that those who eat breakfast daily tend to have overall better habits then those who tend to skip breakfast. Better habits include not smoking and exercising regularly.
From a biological metabolic perspective, prolonging a fast (skipping breakfast) puts a strain on the body and over time can create an insulin sensitivity, resulting in type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and eventually leading to heart disease. Timing overall has a great effect on overall metabolism. Researchers who study circadian rhythms say these findings make sense, given that the act of eating plays a critical role in resetting our internal clocks. If we eat at different times daily then our internal clock can get confused and our body does not metabolize food as efficiently as it should.
On the contrary, there is new research that promotes intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight and promote healthy metabolism. This type of fasting suggest that we model our eating patterns as if we were hunting and gathering in primal state, meaning we only eat within a 6-8 hour period daily, which means you skip breakfast or dinner. There are numerous science based studies that show intermittent fasting actually reduces risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stabilizes hormones and promotes weight loss.
The best nutrition plan is your own, you have to find out what works for your body. If you are hungry and enjoy a healthy breakfast then make it a part of your daily routine, if you do not enjoy breakfast and intermittent fasting sounds like something you want to try then give it a shot and see how you feel and function throughout your activities of daily living.
Why would having a late dinner increase the risk for coronary heart disease?
Consuming the majority of calories during the day, in the form of balanced meals or snacks, promotes increased energy levels, appetite control and overall good health. When you do have to resort to eating a big meal late at night, due to schedule, try to keep the portions moderate and choose balanced meal options like protein, heart healthy fats and of course fibrous vegetables. If a late night dinner or binge becomes a routine, you are increasing your risk for several different health issues, including insulin resistance, heart disease and obesity. Going to sleep with food that is not digested completely can interfere with sleep patterns, promote weight gain, increase heart burn, and reflux symptoms. A prolonged state of poor sleep and excessive weight gain from eating late night meals will interfere with proper insulin production resulting in heart disease and even type 2 diabetes. A prolonged state of poor sleep can also increase the production of the stress hormone, cortisol resulting in inflammation, and a reduction in anti aging hormones.
In conclusion to reduce your risk for any chronic disease including coronary heart disease you should exercise regularly, eat meals that are rich in vegetables, some fruits, whole grains, healthy fat and quality protein. The meal timing and patterns are truly individual to your schedule and needs, experiment meal timing and even intermittent fasting to see if it works for you.
How does the quality of food and water impact the risk for heart disease?
Food quality has a great impact on overall health and disease risk. Foods, especially meats that contain dyes, chemicals, preservatives, antibiotics, and pesticides can cause inflammation, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Unsafe additives can also increase the risk for cancer and thyroid disease. Optimal hydration including consuming half your body weight in ounces of hydroxide rich water will promote optimal pH levels. Consume the highest quality chemically pure proteins, vegetables and fruits for optimal health.