Washington: Seems like most of us do not know what is it to eat mindfully as a new research has shown that a majority of Americans do not believe in three meals a day.
Salk Institute scientists have presented daily food and beverage intake data collected from over 150 participants of a mobile research app over 3 weeks. They showed that a majority of people eat for 15 hours or longer, with less than a quarter of the day's calories being consumed before noon and over a third consumed after 6 p.m.
The purpose of the app is to pilot a way to objectively study the effects of timing food intake in humans. Primed with evidence of how long people eat each day, senior author Satchidananda Panda and first author Shubhroz Gill were able to test whether reducing this daily duration impacts health.
In addition to cutting out some bad habits, the authors hypothesized that a timed feeding schedule could prevent "metabolic jetlag"-when differences in day-to-day or weekday/weekend meal times cause metabolic organs to become out of sync with the body's overall circadian rhythms.
The research on the benefits of time-restricted feeding in mice elicited mixed feedback; while several people thought humans do eat randomly and the approach might have translational significance, others said that we largely eat three meals everyday within a 10-12 hour interval, Panda says.
Gill noted that the app could be a powerful tool for personalized medicine. For example, the pictures revealed that nearly two-thirds of participants took some kind of nutritional supplement or vitamins, but the time at which they took these pills varied from day to day. The same held true for medication.
In addition, the data revealed cultural food practices, such as Americans' consumption of coffee and milk in the morning, alcohol in the evening, and tea throughout the day. Also, yogurt was a morning food, sandwiches and burgers were primarily reserved for lunchtime, while vegetables and ice cream were saved for the evening.
The smartphone app "myCircadianclock," which can be downloaded from the iOS App Store or Google Play, will help record intake of food, water, beverages, and supplements and, after 2 weeks, reveal the user's own "feedogram."
The study appears in Cell Metabolism.