Japanese food

Japanese food (Photo: Iñigo Mujika).

It has been two and a half years since my last post based on the 1860 book “Elementary Anatomy and Physiology for Colleges, Academies and Other Schools”. The topic of that post was sleep, a key to recovery, adaptation and performance for athletes. On this occasion, I am going to highlight some texts written by Hitchcock & Hitchcock about another key aspect for athletes: eating. I am also going to relate the statements made by these authors 157 years ago with some recent research dealing with similar topics.

336. We must not eat too fast.—5. Most persons eat too fast. No time is gained on the sum total of life, by taking any from that demanded by nature for eating and digesting food. A fortune or great reputation, it is true, may sometimes be gained a little quicker by using the time which the stomach rightfully claims, yet the penalty for such robbery is a shorter life, or a disease which makes life miserable.

van den Boer JHW et al. Self-reported eating rate is associated with weight status in a Dutch population: a validation study and a cross-sectional study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017; 14(1):121.

Leong SL et al. Faster self-reported speed of eating is related to higher body mass index in a nationwide survey of middle-aged women. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011; 111(8):1192-7.

Otsuka R et al. Eating fast leads to obesity: findings based on self-administered questionnaires among middle-aged Japanese men and women. J Epidemiol. 2006; 16(3):117-24.

337. The Time of Eating.— 6. We see that the time of eating should not encroach upon the hours devoted to sleep, or those of hard labor. During sleep the brain needs quiet; but if there be any function going on such as that in the earlier stages of digestion, the brain, as a matter of necessity, must labor till the process is accomplished, and as a result, dreams or imperfect trains of thought will produce that kind of sleep which cannot refresh the body. If again the time for meals precede or follow very closely upon hard labor, a law of nature is broken, and the penalty is sure to follow. The nervous energy cannot be immediately called off from the part to which it has for some time been directed (whether to the brain or the muscles), and consequently the stomach, for a while must lie nearly inactive. Hence a short season of relaxation from all active exercise, whether mental or physical, just before and after meals, is very conducive to health, since in the former case the circulation is equalized, and the brain can prepare its energies to expend them on the stomach, while after meals the whole force of the nervous influence is needed for a time by the digestive function before it can be directed to the muscles for exercise. Even a short time after dinner devoted to a nap promotes digestion quite rapidly, although the habit often is an inconvenient one, to say the least, since if by unavoidable circumstances it is omitted for once, the person feels uncomfortable the rest of the day.

Jiang P, Turek FW. Timing of meals: when is as critical as what and how much. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2017; 1;312(5):E369-E380.

Moran-Ramos S et al. When to eat? The influence of circadian rhythms on metabolic health: are animal studies providing the evidence? Nutr Res Rev. 2016;29(2):180-193.

Peuhkuri K et al. Diet promotes sleep duration and quality. Nutr Res. 2012 May;32(5):309-19.

777.—5. Is Taste a Proper Guide for the Appetite?— The question often arises whether the sense of taste can be considered a safe guide for the appetite. As it is natural, some maintain that it should always be gratified. But even if originally safe to follow, how often has it been perverted by extravagant diet, and is at the time in a morbid condition from a perverted state of the body? If such be the case, we should be on our guard against indulging peculiar appetites, or strange tastes. But in some cases, of which the physician is the best judge, it may be safe to allow a reasonable indulgence in a desire for a peculiar article of food or drink.

Boesveldt S, de Graaf K. The Differential Role of Smell and Taste For Eating Behavior. Perception. 2017;46(3-4):307-319.

McCrickerd K, Forde CG. Sensory influences on food intake control: moving beyond palatability. Obes Rev. 2016;17(1):18-29.

Sørensen LB et al. Effect of sensory perception of foods on appetite and food intake: a review of studies on humans. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003;27(10):1152-66.

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