Meal Planning and Your Heart

Heart health may be affected by meal planning and timing

(RxWiki News) When and how often you eat might have an effect on your risk for heart problems and stroke, according to a new scientific statement.

This statement, published in the journal Circulation, suggests that measures like planning when to eat your meals and not skipping breakfast might improve heart health. Still, the statement authors emphasized the importance of eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.

Before issuing this statement, the authors examined past studies on diet habits and heart health. They found, for instance, that there was a link between eating breakfast and having a lower risk for obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other problems.

The timing and frequency of meals may also be tied to certain health effects.

"We suggest eating mindfully, by paying attention to planning both what you eat and when you eat meals and snacks, to combat emotional eating, "said statement author Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University, in a press release. "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."

The statement authors noted that their observations are not definitive and called for large, long-term studies on this subject.

There was not a consensus on the definition of a meal, snack and meal timing. This made comparing the available studies difficult and was considered a limit of this study. 

Several authors received grants from National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes Association. One author has disclosed to having ties to Nestle.