Worker Health and Wellness

AHA panel: Planning, timing meals may improve heart health

Food planner

Photo: Kenishirotie/iStockphoto

Dallas – Planning meals and snacks – and not skipping breakfast – could help control your weight and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association.

“Data suggest that irregular eating patterns appear less favorable for achieving a healthy cardiometabolic profile,” the statement reads. “Intentional eating with mindful attention to the timing and frequency of eating occasions could lead to healthier lifestyle and cardiometabolic risk factor management.”

The statement also suggested that meal and snack planning may help prevent “emotional eating,” noting that “many people find that emotions can trigger eating episodes when they are not hungry, which often leads to eating too many calories from foods that have low nutritional value.”

A team of AHA doctors reviewed multiple studies and found that eating breakfast daily was linked to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. About 20 to 30 percent of adults skip breakfast, a habit which makes obesity and impaired glucose metabolism more likely, the doctors said.

“Meal timing may affect health due to its impact on the body’s internal clock,” writing group chair Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D., said in a Jan. 30 press release, adding that more research is needed.

The doctors also said that larger, longitudinal studies tracking cardiovascular disease are needed to complement observational research.

The statement was published online Jan. 30 in the AHA journal Circulation.

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