1-Sentence-Summary: What to Eat When teaches us how food works inside our body and how to feed ourselves in a way that better suits our biology, making us healthier and stronger.
Read in: 4 minutes
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Being healthy is much more than not having diseases. It’s feeling good and full of energy to do what matters to you.
This is what preventive medicine is all about: keeping people healthy instead of treating them once they’ve gotten sick. Food has a huge impact on lessening the probability of developing a wide range of illnesses. Ingredients, cooking methods, and even eating times can all make the difference.
The authors are doctors with an inner passion for food, who’ve been investigating for decades how to use it for enhancing people’s health. In What to Eat When: A Strategic Plan to Improve Your Health and Life Through Food, they have put together the results of many studies that explain the key role of nutrition in keeping you in shape.
Here are 3 useful concepts to feed your health:
- To be able to fuel your wellbeing, learn how food works inside your body.
- Eating times matter. A lot.
- Provide your body with the proper sizes of healthy food at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Do you want to increase your energy? Let’s see what you should eat and when!
Lesson 1: Food triggers different processes depending on its key components.
Most people take food seriously only when they want to lose weight and end up focusing on its calorie content. Yet food is much more than just calories, it provides a wide range of chemicals. But the ones you need to learn about first are its key components or macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Inside our body carbohydrates turn themselves into glucose, which is like fuel for us. All the glucose we can’t consume right away stays in the blood until we produce insulin, a chemical that delivers it to muscles and fat cells.
Unfortunately, eating simple carbs too often, like sugar or white flour, is dangerous because frequent glucose spikes increase our probability to gain weight and develop diabetes and other illnesses. We should eat complex carbs instead, like whole grains, because they trigger a slower release of glucose to the blood.
Fats are also a source of energy, with twice as much the calories of carbs. Luckily the time when doctors suggested to eliminate them from our diet is over. And now we know we should consume daily small quantities of unsaturated fats, mostly found in fish and in plant products like olives, nuts, and avocados.
Proteins provide calories but also amino acids, that are like small bricks our body is built of. You can find them in both animal and plant products, but these are slightly different. That’s why if you are a vegetarian you should include a wide range of protein sources in your diet to be complete.
Lesson 2: Eating smart also means feeding yourself at the right times.
To eat for your health, you need to forget about most assumptions about food.
One is that a specific food is always good or always bad for you. Actually, timing is so crucial when it comes to nutrition that the authors have coined the term “chrononutrition”. We need to synchronize our meals with our circadian rhythms to allow food to work with our body instead of against it.
Our biology evolved during a time when electricity wasn’t around so we are not meant to feed ourselves at night. This is why, even in this high-tech age, it’s still better for us to have most of our food when the sun is up and in a window of 12 hours or less.
How many evenings have you told yourself: “I haven’t eaten anything today, so I can have a dessert now?” But the later you eat sugar, the worse its consequences.
Insulin resistance, that is your muscles and fat cells refusing to accept glucose, grows during the day. So does the quantity of it you’ll have in the blood after eating the same piece of cake. Since your body prefers to use it as a fuel and keep storing precious fat, the more glucose in your blood, the more weight you may gain.
Maybe you are one of the many people that skip breakfast because in the morning they aren’t hungry and rush. But if you don’t play in advance by starting to eat early, you’ll probably find yourself very hungry at dinner time. And this is very dangerous for your chrononutrition.
So, let’s see how you can easily change your habits!
Lesson 3: Feed yourself with the proper portion of macronutrients at every meal.
Another false assumption about eating is that at breakfast you should eat different things than at lunch or dinner. Actually, the easiest way to get the right nutrients in the morning is by eating part of your dinner for breakfast.
Proteins have proven to give a longer-lasting sense of satiety than carbohydrates, especially when you assume them early in the day.
Make yourself a healthy dinner, with lots of vegetables and some source of proteins, like salmon or beans, avoiding or at least reducing the carbs intake. Then divide it into 4 portions and eat only one, leaving the rest for the morning after.
If you are too hungry, start slowly: leave just one portion for breakfast and eat the rest. You’ll increasingly reduce the size of your dinner in the following days, as you get accustomed to your new nutrition style.
If you are like many people who don’t feel like eating until late in the morning, you’ll probably be surprised by how hungry you can be the morning after a light dinner.
What about lunch? Switch from simple carbs, like sugar and white flour, to complex ones, like whole cereal grains. Also, have a big portion of vegetables and don’t forget to season everything with some good unsaturated fat, like olive oil or avocado.
What To Eat When Review
What to Eat When is an easy guide on how to organize our meals to include the best ingredients for each time of the day, to allow our body to work properly and ourselves to live at our full potential.
Who would I recommend the What To Eat When summary to?
The 23-year-old who needs a lot of energy to deal with commitments of any kind, the 30-year-old who’s starting to experience more fatigue, the 48-year-old who wants to keep themselves in shape and anyone who want to improve his health through food.