Time to Dine

You Are What You Eat, When You Eat It
By Lynne Thompson

Cleveland Clinic Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Michael Roizen has a tip for winning that never-ending battle of the bulge and increasing energy at the same time: consume 80 percent of daily calories during a six- to nine-hour window, ideally while the sun is up. He cites recent studies that support a calorie eaten in the morning is much more likely to be metabolized than a calorie eaten in the evening—a calorie “much more likely to go to fat.”

“The relatively amazing thing is that if you eat in the morning and at lunch, you’re not hungry at what you would consider normal dinnertime,” marvels Roizen, who estimates he used to down 70 to 75 percent of his daily calories between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

In his latest book, What to Eat When [National Geographic Books, $28], Roizen—who wrote the bestselling You series of books with syndicated health-and-wellness TV-show host Dr. Mehmet Oz—and co-author Dr. Michael Crupain also suggest what to eat in certain situations.

Here are a few examples:

When you’re stressed and “hangry.” Avoid the crash that inevitably follows a simple-sugar high—keep a snack on hand that provides the fiber, protein and healthy fat needed to alleviate hunger and satisfy the urge to munch (raw veggies and hummus, for example). Roizen’s favorite is roasted chickpeas, made by rolling the legumes in paper towels to dry them; spreading them evenly on a baking sheet; sprinkling them with a little extra-virgin olive oil; and roasting them in a 425-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, shaking the sheet every 10 minutes. Roizen likes to season his with garlic, rosemary and cayenne before roasting.

Dr. Michael Roizen

When you’re fighting fatigue. The first thing to grab is a half-gallon thermos of water to sip throughout the day. Roizen explains that when the body is short of water, it releases hormones that cut blood flow first to the skin, then to the muscles.

When you can’t sleep. Eating fish regularly has been linked to helping prevent poor sleep. According to Roizen, the benefit is assumed to be derived from tryptophan, that amino acid blamed for inducing naps after a Thanksgiving turkey dinner. A side of leafy greens such as spinach contains magnesium, which seems to relax muscles. And tart cherry juice has been shown to be a boon to bedtime, perhaps by increasing levels of the body-clock-regulating hormone melatonin.

When you’re sick. Roizen notes studies have found that long-touted home remedy, chicken soup, actually has an anti-inflammatory effect, although “no one’s isolated the active component, to my knowledge.” Ginger, he adds, “interferes with the attachment of the virus to the cell membrane”—good enough reason to sip a cup of ginger tea. 

The Best Thing I Ever Did for Myself
Three Ohio medical professionals name the best things they did for themselves in the past year

Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, and vice president of health sciences, Wexner Medical Center, Columbus: He rededicated himself to cycling after training with his teenage son for Pelotonia, a cancer research fundraiser. “I actually got in really good shape and I had a lot of fun with my son. The race was hard—and I’m still biking.”

Dr. Richard P. Lofgren, president and chief executive officer, UC Health, Cincinnati: He tried Pilates. “That has had both physical and mental benefits. I can genuinely see how it takes the tension out of my body and actually clears my brain.”

Randy Oostra, president and chief executive officer, ProMedica, Toledo: He ate an increasingly plant-based diet. “My wife and I, I wouldn’t say we’re vegetarians, but we’re pretty close. On a typical evening, we cook vegetables. And if we eat any meat of any sort, it would probably be chicken.”

Our Experts

Dr. K. Craig Kent
dean, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University School and vice president of health sciences, Wexner Medical Center, Columbus

Dr. Richard P. Lofgren
president and chief executive officer, UC Health, Cincinnati

Randy Oostra
president and chief executive officer, ProMedica, Toledo

Dr. Michael Roizen
chief wellness officer, Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Michael Todd
medical director of employer health solutions, Mercy Health, Cincinnati

Dr. Randy Wexler
associate professor of family medicine and vice president for clinical affairs, The Ohio State University, Columbus