Timing and meal planning affect heart health, says AHA

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A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) has highlighted the role of meal timing and frequency in prevention of cardiovascular diseases. According to it, planning when to eat meals and snacks and not skipping breakfast are patterns associated with healthier diets, which could reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.

The statement reviews the cardiometabolic health effects of specific eating patterns: skipping breakfast, intermittent fasting, meal frequency and timing of eating occasions. It recommends that “intentional eating with mindful attention to the timing and frequency of eating occasions could lead to healthier lifestyle and cardiometabolic risk factor management”.

As clinicians, we stress upon eating a healthy diet, one that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish and limiting red meat, salt and foods high in added sugars. Now, we should also educate our patients that “when and how often a person eats” are also important in promoting heart health – a more intentional approach to eating. Irregular patterns of eating have adverse impact on cardiometabolic health such as obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose levels, insulin resistance.

The statement titled “Meal Timing and Frequency: Implications for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention” is published online January 30, 2017 in the journal Circulation.

(Source: AHA News Release, Circulation)