"Chrononutrition: Consequences and determinants of food timing"
The circadian system regulates human physiology and behavior by synchronizing to external rhythmic cues, such as the light/dark cycle and food consumption. The timing of food intake is emerging as an important predictor of overall health and a relevant risk factor for obesity in adults. In addition, human studies have shown that late food timing is associated with hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, insulin sensitivity, and metabolic syndrome. This seminar will review some evidence supporting the role of food timing as an independent risk factor and a novel dimension for cardiometabolic health.
Observations that mistimed food intake may have adverse metabolic health effects have generated interest in personalizing food timing recommendations in interventional studies and public health strategies for the purpose of disease prevention and improving overall health. Small, controlled, and short-termed intervention studies suggest that food timing may be modified as it is presumed to be primarily regulated by choice. Identifying and evaluating social and biological factors that explain variability in food timing may determine whether changes in food timing in uncontrolled, free-living environments are sustainable in the long term. The seminar will review factors that influence the timing of when people consume foods, which include: cultural and environmental factors; 2) behavioral and personal preference factors; and 3) genetic and physiological factors.
Hassan S. Dashti is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with expertise in human genetics and chronobiology. He is currently an instructor at the Center for Genomic Medicine and the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Dashti’s current research seeks to understand the role of food timing as a risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases and identify the genetic basis of the timing of food intake. The overall aim of this research is to exploit these insights to prevent and treat diseases resulting from inappropriate times of food intake. Dr. Dashti completed a PhD at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in 2015 under the supervision of Dr. José M Ordovás. His work focused on the relationship between circadian clock genes and food intake. He received a BA in Molecular and Computational Biology at the University of Pennsylvania and completed his dietetics training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.