Professor Shigenobu Shibata, professor at the School of Advanced Science and Engineering at Japan’s Waseda University, is the guest of our latest Nutrachampion podcast.
Professor Shibata specialises in the study of the suprachiasmatic nucleus – a structure located in the hypothalamus in the brain – which in turn regulates the central body clock, also known as the circadian clock.
Processes in the body follow the circadian clock, as such, in order to maximise the absorption of nutrients, the timing of food intake should follow the circadian cycle.
In July, Prof Shibata’s study on how breakfast is the best time to consume proteins for maximising muscle building amongst elderly women was published on Cell Reports.
His findings have also been applied into the food and nutrition industry.
For example, he has developed a fibre-rich snack meant to be taken between lunch and dinner with Japanese firm Glico.
The product is meant to bring about the second meal effect – which is a phenomenon where the glycaemic index of a meal could influence the body’s glycemic response to a subsequent meal.
“If someone take lunch in the noon and dinner at 9pm, there is a long fasting period in between the two meals, that is not so good for our health.
“If we have a long fasting time between lunch and dinner, there will be a sharp increase in the blood glucose level after taking the dinner.
“To avoid this, we will suggest taking a snack at around 4pm or 5pm…We recently selected a good candidate for such an afternoon snack by developing a fibre rich food,” Prof Shibata explained.
He added that there are also milk companies that are starting to design protein-rich dairy products for breakfast, since protein is best absorbed in the morning.
“Many companies produce similar products and they want to make a more special, healthier food products, therefore, chrono-nutrition is a good idea for them to follow to develop new products,” he said.
He also revealed the best time to consume epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC) present in green tea, natto, EPA, DHA, calcium and vitamin D.
Listen to find out more.