Thu. May 23rd, 2024

A balanced eating schedule may improve cognitive health, a study reveals

Food serves as fuel. It gives us the energy our bodies require in order to function and to maintain our health.

During the Industrial Revolution, the demands of both employers and employees led to the development of the Western three-meal-a-day routine. Prior to that, two substantial meals every day that were based on farming and home chores were more typical.

According to a recent study, consuming three largely comparable meals each day to meet our energy demands may be the most effective method to prevent cognitive deterioration. The study found a link between skipping breakfast and a deterioration in cognitive health. The study also reveals that eating more calories at one meal than another is not linked to a quick deterioration in cognitive function, but it does not improve cognition as much as eating a balanced three meals daily.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) around 55 million people worldwide have dementia, with 10 million new cases being diagnosed each year. As the world’s population is aging — the proportion of older people is rising steadily — the WHO estimates 78 million people will have dementia by 2030, and 139 million by 2050.

To better understand the effects that energy intake and meal timing have on cognition, a new study takes a look at the potential effect on cognitive decline of different meal schedules, or temporal patterns of energy intake (TPEI).

The results show that consuming three balanced meals each is associated with better cognitive function, compared to other, less evenly distributed ways of consuming one’s total energy intake, or TEI.

“To our knowledge, this study is one of the few population-based studies that explore the association of TPEI and cognitive decline, although accumulating studies have linked TPEI to health outcomes, including obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular health,” the authors wrote.

The study also shows that skipping breakfast is linked to slower cognitive improvement and worse cognitive performance. The research was released in Life Metabolism.

Based on an examination of data from the 1997–2006 China Health and Nutrition Survey, the researchers came to their results.

The poll collected up to four repeat entries over a ten-year period for 3,342 people in China, and their responses were included in the statistics. Everyone was at least 55 years old, and the average age was 62.2. 13.6% had a high school diploma or more, while 61.2% resided in rural areas, according to the authors. Participants in the study who had substantial cognitive loss were not included. Each participant underwent a dietary evaluation as well as a phone-based cognitive exam at the beginning of the study period. This test evaluated each person’s ability to recall words quickly and slowly, count backward, and subtract 7 quickly from given numbers.

The range of cognitive scores was 0 to 27, with 27 being the maximum possible degree of cognitive health.

The six eating patterns identified by the researchers were used to group people’s meal time. Compared to the equally distributed pattern, the breakfast-skipping pattern was associated with a 0.14 cognitive-test point annual loss in cognitive function.

There were no further decreases of a similar nature for other patterns.

Dr. Clifford Segil, a neurologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, not involved in the study, described this finding as “fascinating.”

“I think the take-home would be that skipping a meal is worse if you choose to skip the meal at breakfast,” he said.

Nevertheless, all of them, with the exception of the first, were associated with lower cognitive function when the researchers condensed the potential TPEIs into just four patterns: evenly distributed, breakfast-dominant, lunch-dominant, and dinner-dominant. However, none of them were linked to a quicker decline in function.

Further study is still required to determine the long-term advantages of meal timing on cognitive function.

Dr. Segil came to the conclusion that cognitive difficulties are multifaceted and that our understanding of them is still quite restricted.

By Editor

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