Why is it Americans can’t seem to stop eating? And what is it doing to our health overall?
It is no secret that Americans are some of the most obese people on the planet, with over one-third of us — 78.6 million, to be exact – being detrimentally overweight. (source)
Image: Leap Fitness
Should we be surprised? With the introduction of 24/7 entertainment and connectivity towards the end of the last century, it was only a matter of time before that ‘always on’ attitude extended into our eating patterns.
A new study detailed the eating habits of the average American and found that most people eat for periods of 15 hours or longer, only pausing for less than nine hours during their night’s sleep.
What this means in practicality is that the average American never stops eating. From midmorning snacks to afternoon vending machine breaks and bedtime munching, our food consumption is quite literally spread out over the aforementioned 15 hours.
It is not hard to see how this is of serious concern when you consider not only when we eat but what we eat.
Researchers found that, although many people claim to eat only three meals a day, the structure of three separate meals was absent from participants in the study.
Now, can we take this information and come up with a plan that will move us in a healthier direction?
Obviously, with obesity statistics like America’s, eating throughout the day is not the way to maintain optimal health and avoid obesity.
A study by the Salk Institute For Biological Studies has previously shown that mice fed high-fat foods were less likely to become obese if their meals were structured. As opposed to mice who were allowed to eat whenever they pleased. This was true even when both sets of mice were given the same amount of food and calories.
With this information, researchers went on to recommend that individuals go through a nightly fast for 10-12 hours. According to the researchers, this allows a reset of the body’s circadian clock that is only disturbed by 24/7 eating.
The reset of this circadian clock allows for an increase in the body’s ability to burn off extra calories. You may have heard that grounding and “Earthing” are useful tools to normalize circadian rhythms. This means getting time barefoot on the Earth. Also, you should use grounding or Earthing pads when you are indoors consistently and/or working with your computer or other electronics.
If you are not entirely sure how to integrate the findings of this study into your life, drink more water instead of snacking. Go hungry more often (you’ll be sharper), and when you do eat, eat more nutritious meals.
Also, while you are at it, please check out the recipe content on this site to assist your healthy eating. In addition, here’s an excellent video from my collection to help you stay inspired and activated.