April 21, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Breakfast

In Gwyneth Paltrow's new site she gives nutrition advice.

She recently said that a person should try to go 12 hours between finishing dinner and beginning breakfast.

She states that breakfast should be a "break from the fast" (12+ hours) to allow the system to rest and detoxify.


What do you think of this concept?


-- Sarah (last name unknown)

Via the blog


Gwyneth didn't have much nutritional credibility with me earlier this year when she blogged about the health miracles of detoxing. Let's find out if she has redeemed herself with her latest batch of advice.

No need for a drumroll -- the answer is NO, she has not redeemed herself.

The number of hours that pass between your last bite of food prior to hitting the sack and waking up the next morning are irrelevant.

There is nothing magical about twelve hours. Eating breakfast nine hours after finishing dinner has no negative effects on health or digestion.

Let's assume you had a late snack at 11:30 PM and went to bed an hour later, at 12:30 AM. Eight hours later (at 8:30 AM) you wake up. I find it absolutely ridiculous to expect you to wait three hours to eat breakfast!

If anything, by the time you have your first morsel of food, you'll be so famished you'll overeat.

I would much rather you focus on what you're eating for breakfast. Waiting twelve hours to load up on a breakfast low in fiber and nutrients but high in added sugars and calories makes no sense.

My other concern with this "health halo" surrounding fasting and spending hours without eating is that it is a half step away from glorifying anorexia nervosa.

Where did celebrities get the idea that an Oscar and a health credential are the same thing?

7 comments:

Blake said...

Nice post. Love the last sentence especially!

Anonymous said...

And when did bloggers suddenly become the experts in health?

Taking a break from eating non-stop 24/7 is NOT one step from anorexia nervosa. This is a country of big, fat people who are dying because they can't seem to control their appetites.

How interesting that you write that you need a "late snack" at 11:30. Why do you need that? Answer: You don't. "Snacking" at 11:30 = eating too much. Eating, eating, eating...and then wondering why you can't fit in any of your clothes, you have high blood pressure, you don't want to exercise...

Give the negativity a rest for just 5 minutes and listen to what she's saying. It's sound advice.

Andy Bellatti said...

Dear anonymous (no surprise there!),

"And when did bloggers suddenly become the experts in health?"

I have been enrolled in New York University's Clinical Nutrition Master's program for the past three and a half years, so I consider myself very knowledgeable on human nutrition.

"Taking a break from eating non-stop 24/7 is NOT one step from anorexia nervosa."

Can you show me where I said this?

"This is a country of big, fat people who are dying because they can't seem to control their appetites."

A lot of unhealthy eating behaviors often stem from following inane advice like "fast for 12 hours." It creates an obsession with food and hunger that often turns unhealthy.

"How interesting that you write that you need a "late snack" at 11:30. Why do you need that? Answer: You don't."

I never said someone needed a late-night snack. I was showing how unrealistic Gwyneth Paltrow's advice is. What I did is called introducing a hypothetical situation into the equation.

"Snacking" at 11:30 = eating too much. Eating, eating, eating...and then wondering why you can't fit in any of your clothes, you have high blood pressure, you don't want to exercise..."

Eating an apple at 11:30 AM after a sensible dinner is not eating too much. Why are you assuming that having a midnight snack equates not fitting into clothes or wanting to exercise?

"Give the negativity a rest for just 5 minutes and listen to what she's saying. It's sound advice."

Pot. Kettle. Black. Calling....

sarahlu said...

I don't know what I enjoy more - your posts or your reply to these comments! very funny

Pam said...

Gweneth, er Anoymous, sounds a bit defensive.

Thanks for continuing to call out these unqualified untruths.

Andy Bellatti said...

Pam,

Maybe Chris Martin visited Small Bites... viva la vida!!

R said...

Ha ha ha! Your replies are hilarious. What do you think of the various "whole food non-professional" food advice sites like http://nutritionista.tumblr.com/?