The Case for a Breakfast Feast.
(Credit Natalya Balnova).
Many of us grab coffee and a quick bite in the morning and eat more as the day goes on, with a medium-size lunch and the largest meal of the day in the evening. But a growing body of research on weight and health suggests we may be doing it all backward.
A recent review of the dietary patterns of 50,000 adults who are Seventh Day Adventists over seven years provides the latest evidence suggesting that we should front-load our calories early in the day to jump-start our metabolisms and prevent obesity, starting with a robust breakfast and tapering off to a smaller lunch and light supper, or no supper at all.
More research is needed, but a series of experiments in animals and some small trials in humans have pointed in the same direction, suggesting that watching the clock, and not just the calories, may play a more important role in weight control than previously acknowledged.
And doctors’ groups are taking note. This year, the American Heart Association endorsed the principle that the timing of meals may help reduce risk factors for heart disease, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The group issued a scientific statement emphasizing that skipping breakfast — which 20 to 30 percent of American adults do regularly — is linked to a higher risk of obesity and impaired glucose metabolism or diabetes, even though there is no proof of a causal relationship. The heart association’s statement also noted that occasional fasting is associated with weight loss, at least in the short term.
“I always tell people not to eat close to bedtime, and to try to eat earlier in the day,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, who led the work group that issued the statement.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the latest study found that those who supplemented three meals a day with snacks tended to gain weight over time, while those who ate only one or two meals a day tended to lose weight, even compared with those who just ate three meals a day.
But the researchers also found that those who ate their largest meal early in the day were more likely to have a lower body mass index than those who ate a large lunch or dinner. Breakfast eaters tended to keep their weight down generally, compared with breakfast skippers. The lowest B.M.I.s were recorded in the fraction of people — about 8 percent of the total sample — who finished lunch by early afternoon and did not eat again until the next morning, fasting for 18 to 19 hours.
The conclusions were limited, since the study was observational and involved members of a religious group who are unusually healthy, do not smoke, tend to abstain from alcohol and eat less meat than the general population (half in the study were vegetarian). But the results suggested that rethinking when and how much we eat, and including an extended fast, may have benefits.
Fasting signals to the body to start burning stores of fat for fuel, the researchers said. “It seems our bodies are built to feast and fast,” said Dr. Hana Kahleova, one of the authors of the study, which was done by researchers at Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California and published in The Journal of Nutrition in July. “It needs some regular cycling between having food intake and fasting. This seems to be hard-wired.”
Having the largest meal in the morning appears to have advantages for weight control compared with having a large meal in the evening, she said, since the digestive process and the action of insulin, the pancreatic hormone that the body uses to process the sugars in carbohydrates and store glucose, appear to be at their peak performance early in the day. As a result, “our body can use the nutrients as a source of energy the easiest,” Dr. Kahleova said.
A person eating the identical meal at different times of day might deposit more fat after an evening meal than a morning meal, she said.
(Credit Natalya Balnova).
That’s because insulin action is more efficient in the morning, experts say. “If you give a healthy individual a big bolus of glucose in the morning, the blood glucose might stay high one or two hours before coming back to normal,” said Dr. Satchidananda Panda, a professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego. “You take that same normal healthy individual and give them the same bolus of glucose late at night, and now the pancreas is sleeping — literally — and cannot produce enough insulin, and blood glucose will stay high up to three hours.” Doctors once called this “evening diabetes,” he said.
But many people snack all day long, Dr. Panda said. He asked volunteers to use a smartphone app to photograph everything they drank and ate throughout the day and found that even generally healthy people ate and snacked over a period of about 15 hours a day, stopping for an extended amount of time only when they were in bed.
In earlier experiments in mice, Dr. Panda and his colleagues found that when the animals were given unlimited access to a high-fat diet — “the equivalent of humans eating only ice cream, cheese and nachos” — they became obese in nine or 10 weeks, and developed insulin resistance or diabetes and high cholesterol a few weeks later. But when the mice had access to the high-fat diet for only eight hours a day, they did not become obese or diabetic, even though they consumed the same amount of calories as the animals who ate round the clock.
Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, an Israeli researcher at the Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv, has tested these principles in small clinical trials. For one study, she recruited dozens of obese and overweight women with metabolic problems and put them all on identical 1,400-calorie-a-day diets. The researchers told half the women to consume 700 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch and 200 calories at supper, and instructed the other group to reverse the order. Regardless of when it was eaten, the large meal included foods like tuna, whole wheat bread, a tomato and mozzarella salad, skim milk and a small amount of chocolate.
Women in both groups lost weight after 12 weeks, but those who ate the large meal in the morning lost two and a half times as much as those eating the large dinner. The large-breakfast group also lost more body fat — especially belly fat — and saw more improvement in metabolic factors like fasting glucose levels.
“We observed that the time of the meal is more important than what you eat and how much you eat — it’s more important than anything else in regulating metabolism,” Dr. Jakubowicz said, attributing that to the body’s biological clocks.
Artificial lighting, changing eating patterns, shift work and other variables of modern life can disrupt our internal system of biological clocks, so they are often out of sync, said Courtney M. Peterson, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While bright light is the dominant timing cue for the body’s master clock in the brain, the peripheral cells and tissues in the body also have biological clocks, and food intake is an important factor for setting their time zones, she said. Ideally, all of the clocks should be in sync and in the same time zone.
“If your timing to light exposure is out of sync with the timing of meals, it’s like your clocks are at different time zones and don’t know how to communicate with each other,” Dr. Peterson said. “It’s like an orchestra whose musicians are playing out of time with each other,” and the result is “cacophony, not music.”
Intermittent fasting may have other advantages as well.
“Twenty years of work on animals shows that compared to those that have constant access to food, those on intermittent fasting diets live longer, their brains function better as they get older and the nerve cells respond to the period of going without food by increasing their ability to cope with stress,” said Mark P. Mattson, chief of the National Institute on Aging’s laboratory of neurosciences. “From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that animals in the wild — especially predators — would have to function optimally in a fasted state when they haven’t been able to obtain food.”
Dr. Kahleova says the take-home message is like the old proverb, to eat “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”
That may be a difficult prescription to follow, since family life and social get-togethers so often revolve around sitting down to an expansive meal at the end of the day. Dr. Kahleova suggested making the evening meal smaller as often as possible.
“The message is very straightforward: Make breakfast your largest meal of the day, and eat dinner as your lightest meal of the day,” she said.
At boot camp, 3 out of 4 women fail to meet combat standards.
Drill Instructor SSgt. Jennifer Garza disciplines her Marine recruits with some unscheduled physical training in the sand pit outside their barracks during boot camp in 2013 at Parris Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images).
Very few female Marine recruits are signing up for previously all-male ground combat jobs — and even fewer are passing the gender-neutral physical tests required for those jobs, according to recent data from Training and Education Command.
So far this year, women account for less than 1 percent of Marine recruits who are showing up to boot camp with contracts to train for combat arms career fields, jobs that were restricted to men until the Pentagon changed policy in January 2016.
For the dozens of women who have tried for a spot in the combat arms, most of them are failing to pass the initial test. As a result, those women are forced to transfer into non-combat jobs.
Between Oct. 1 and May 31, 51 female recruits entered boot camp with combat arms classifications, but only 13 of them — or 25 percent — met the physical requirements for those jobs, a test known as the MOS Classification Standard, according to the data, obtained by Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Meanwhile, among men who showed up to boot camp with similar contracts to train for combat jobs, the pass rate was about 96 percent. Marine Corps data shows that 7,264 of 7,552 of male recruits who attempted the same physical standards passed.
Of the 38 female recruits who failed the job-specific physical tests in boot camp:
- 17 failed the physical standards for combat support MOSs
- 12 failed the standards for infantry MOSs
- six failed for combat engineer MOSs
- three failed for fire direction and control
The pass-fail rates so far this year is similar to what the Marine Corps reported for last year. For fiscal 2016, a total of six out of 24 female recruits — also 25 percent — passed MOS Classification Standard for ground combat jobs, compared with 4,577 of 4,754 male recruits — a 96 percent pass rate for men, the data show.
For women who make the cut at boot camp, the success rate improves significantly when they arrive at their MOS schoolhouses and face another set of gender-neutral physical standards. The second round of tests, known as the MOS Specific Physical Standards, or MSPS, vary by job and passing them is required for graduation from the MOS school houses.
So far this year, about 90 percent female recruits who make it to combat-arms schoolhouse are passing those tests. Of the 21 women who attempted to meet these standards to join ground combat jobs between Oct. 1 and May 31, 19 passed, the data show. Two female Marines failed and were reclassified: One who tested as a combat engineer and the other as a tanker.
During that same time, 8,327 of 8,383 male Marines passed the MOS Specific Physical Standards for previously restricted MOSs, a success rate of 99 percent, according to the data. For fiscal 2016, 55 of 64 female Marines passed the physical standards at MOS schoolhouses for those MOSs, compared with 9,981 of 10,012 male Marines.
The gender-neutral standards at boot camp and MOS schoolhouses are designed to “give a reasonable assurance” that Marines are physically fit enough to do the jobs for which they are training, said Brian McGuire, deputy director of the Marine Corps’ Force Fitness Division.
McGuire noted that both men and women have been unable to meet the gender-neutral physical standards since they were implemented. Furthermore, the data show that recruits who pass the MOS Classification Standard are likely to pass the MOS Specific Physical Standards, he said.
But the data also show that Marine Corps Recruiting Command needs to do a better job letting women know that they can serve in ground combat MOSs and making sure that female poolees are physically fit by the time they arrive at boot camp, said retired Lt. Col. Kate Germano, who was in charge of training female recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
“The first thing the Marine Corps should do is make sure that their female screening and accountability is the same as the male applicants in the delayed entry program,” Germano told Marine Corps Times.
Germano was relieved as commander of the 4th Recruit Training Battalion in June 2015 after a command climate survey and subsequent reviews painted her as a toxic leader, but she claims her commanding officer undermined her for holding female recruits to tougher physical standards.
During her two recruiting tours, Germano noticed that male recruiters were reluctant to devote much attention to female poolees out of a fear that they would be accused of having an inappropriate relationship with the women and that they were spending more time with them than male poolees, she said.
“Until the Marine Corps truly holds recruiters accountable for selling women on these new jobs and basically saying, ‘Hey, look: I recognize this glimmer of potential in you and I know you have what it takes and I’m going to help you get there,’ we’re going to continue to see these dismal numbers, and it’s exactly what the Marine Corps wants, because they don’t really want women in these fields anyway,” Germano said.
Both male and female poolees who want to train for ground combat jobs must pass an initial strength test before shipping to boot camp, said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command.
“Marine recruiters tirelessly endeavor to find morally, mentally and physically qualified young men and women who are willing to try and serve their nation as Marines,” Caldwell said. “Poolees awaiting shipment are provided ample training resource materials to help prepare themselves for the rigors of recruit training. They are also provided and expected to participate in regular physical training opportunities with their recruiters and fellow poolees.” (By: Jeff Schogol).
What Christians Should Know About the Alt-Right.
Last June, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution condemning the movement known as the “alt-right.”
The language of the resolution reads, in part,
WHEREAS, Racism and white supremacy are, sadly, not extinct but present all over the world in various white supremacist movements, sometimes known as “white nationalism” or “alt-right”; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and be it further RESOLVED, That we denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as of the devil; and be it further RESOLVED, That we acknowledge that we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of intentional or unintentional racism in our midst; and be it further RESOLVED, That we earnestly pray, both for those who advocate racist ideologies and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of these hatreds, and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God, which is established from every nation, tribe, people, and language.
The resolution initially caused confusion because many Baptists—like most other Americans—are not familiar with the movement. A majority of U.S. adults (54 percent) say they have heard “nothing at all” about the “alt-right” movement, and another 28 percent have heard only “a little” about it, according to a Pew Research Center survey taken last year.
“There were a lot of people [at the SBC annual meeting] who just weren’t familiar with what the alt-right is,” said Russell Moore, a TGC Council member and president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “And then there were others who assumed the alt-right was just a fringy group of people that they didn’t want to dignify by even mentioning them.”
“What I point out is just how dangerous and present the alt-right is. . . . When people recognize what it is that the alt-right believes,” Moore added, “I haven’t talked to anyone who doesn’t immediately reject that.”
Here is what every Christian should know about the alt-right:
What is the alt-right?
The alt-right—short for “alternative right”—is an umbrella term for a host of disparate nationalist and populist groups associated with the white identity cause/movement. The term brings together white supremacists (e.g., neo-Nazis), religious racialists (e.g., Kinists), neo-pagans (e.g., Heathenry), internet trolls (e.g., 4chan’s /pol/), and others enamored with white identity and racialism.
Where did the term “alt-right” come from?
In December 2008, Paul Gottfried wrote an article for Taki’s Magazine titled, “The Decline and Rise of the Alternative Right.” (The article itself does not use the phrase “alternative right,” and the editor of the magazine at that time, Richard Spencer, claims to have added the title.)
At the time, the “alternative right” was loosely associated with “paleoconservatives” (another term created by Gottfried). Paleocons were self-identified conservatives who rejected the neo-conservatism of the George W. Bush-era. While the group tended to be anti-globalist and anti-war (especially opposed to the Iraq War) it was not necessarily associated with white identity politics. But in his article Gottfried identified “postpaleos” as a “growing communion “that now includes Takimag, VDARE.com, and other websites that are willing to engage sensitive, timely subjects.”
The “sensitive, timely subjects” Gottfried refers to are topics that had previously been the main concern of white identity groups, issues such as non-white immigration (“being physically displaced by the entire Third World”) and “human cognitive capacities” (i.e., the belief that certain racial groups are, in general, intellectually inferior to others).
In 2010, Richard Spencer launched a website, AlternativeRight.com, to promote these views. Since then, the term has been associated with the white identity movement.
Who is Richard Spencer?
Richard Spencer is a white nationalist who has become the public face of the alt-right.
Spencer, who comes from a wealthy family (his mother is a cotton heiress, and his father is an ophthalmologist), went to a Catholic parochial school before graduating from the University of Virginia (BA) and University of Chicago (MA). He pursued doctoral studies at Duke before, as he says, “dropping out to pursue a life of thought-crime.”
In the mid-2000s, Spencer worked for the paleo conservative publication The American Conservative. Spencer was fired for his extreme views and went to work for the online publication Taki’s Magazine. With funding from Taki Theodoracopulos and other wealthy donors, Spencer was able to create a career centered on his white identity politics.
Prior to 2016, few people—even white nationalists—knew who he was. But Spencer is a gifted political opportunist. During the election season of 2016 various populists, nationalists, white supremacists, and anti-PC (political correctness) groups started coalescing around the candidacy of Donald Trump. Because the alt-right existed mostly online and was populated by people too cowardly to use their own names, Spencer was able to seize the opportunity to become the public face of the alt-right.
Spencer gained a boost in recognition when Breitbart News began to openly champion the alt-right cause. In March 2016, Breitbart wrote a fawning article of the alt-right titled, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right.” In the article Spencer is listed as an alt-right “intellectual.” A few months later, Steve Bannon, who ran Breitbart before becoming CEO of the Trump campaign, bragged that Breitbart News was the “the platform for the alt-right.”
What is “white identity”?
White identity is the defining concept that unites the alt-right.
“Racial Identity,” said Arthur Kemp in March of the Titans: A History of the White Race, “can be defined as the conscious recognition that one belongs to a specific race, ethnicity, and culture and with that comes certain obligations toward their own welfare.” And the alt-right leader Jared Taylor defines “white identity” as “a recognition by whites that they have interests in common that must be defended. All other racial groups take this for granted, that it’s necessary to band together along racial lines to work together for common interests.”
Is the alt-right conservative?
No. As George Hawley, a University of Alabama professor who has studied the movement, told The Washington Post, “the modal alt-right person is a male, white millennial; probably has a college degree or is in college; is secular and perhaps atheist and [is] not interested in the conservative movement at all.”
What puts the movement on the “right” is that it shares, along with conservatism, skepticism of forced egalitarianism. But that’s generally all it shares with mainstream conservatism. In fact, many on the alt-right (such as Spencer) hold views associated with progressivism (e.g., support for abortion and gay rights and opposition to free-market economics).
The confusion about the movement’s politics lies in thinking that extremist groups are on each “end” of the left-right political spectrum. It is more accurate to consider them through the lens of the horseshoe theory, a concept in political science that claims the far left and the far right, rather than being at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political continuum, closely resemble one another, much like the ends of a horseshoe.
Why does the alt-right hate conservative Christians?
As many conservative Christians on social media can attest, the alt-right seems to have a particular disdain for gospel-centered Christianity. Some on the alt-right (such as Vox Day) claim that Christianity is a “foundational pillar” of the movement. But what they mean by Christianity is often a heretical form (Day rejects the Trinity) a racialized version of the faith (e.g., the Kinist movement), or “religion as culture” (Spencer says he is both an atheist and a “culture Christian.”). The true religion of the alt-right is white identitarianism, which is why the SBC accurately considers it an “anti-gospel” movement.
Is white identity and white nationalism the same as white supremacy?
No. The terms are often conflated, making it more difficult to challenge these ideologies.
White supremacy is the belief that lighter-skinned or “white” racial groups are superior to all other racial groups. Modern advocates of white supremacy almost always advocate for white identity, though the reverse is not always true. As alt right leader Vox Day says, “The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.”
White nationalism is a political view that merges nationalism with white identity. White nationalists are racial separatists who believe that to preserve the white race, other racial groups must be excluded or marginalized in “white states” (i.e., countries or regions that have historically had majority-white populations). White nationalists are frequently concerned about miscegenation and non-white immigration because it contributes to what they consider to be “white genocide,” i.e., the replacement of the “white race” by other racial groups.
In rebutting these beliefs, Christians must be careful not to reduce them all to mere “white supremacy.” It’s natural to a want to use that term and apply it to the entirety of an evil movement. Because of the long, despicable history of white supremacy in America, that term retains considerable cultural weight. But if we imply that the problem with the movement is only the elements of racial superiority, then those on the alt-right who can effectively avoid that charge will be let off the hook.
White supremacy is certainly rampant in the movement and should be called out when it’s expressed. However, even if those in the alt-right condemn racial superiority—as many claim to do—the white nationalism and white identity aspects are still detestable and should be rejected.
To more effectively argue against the movement we need to clearly reject the racialized worldview that considers racial categories the primary markers of cultural identity. White supremacy, white nationalism, and white identity are not all the same thing, but they are all equally repugnant.
How should Christians respond to the alt-right?
At the core of the alt-right movement is idolatry—the idol of “whiteness.” In building their identity on shared genetic traits the alt-right divides humanity and leads people away from the only source of true identity: Jesus Christ.
The alt-right is anti-gospel because to embrace white identity requires rejecting the Christian identity. The Christian belongs to a “chosen race” (1 Peter 2:9), the elect from every tribe and tongue (Rev. 7:9).
“The chosen race is not black or white or red or yellow or brown,” John Piper says. “The chosen race is a new people from all the peoples—all the colors and cultures—who are now aliens and strangers among in the world.”
This is why it’s impossible to truly follow Christ and be a white supremacist: How can we claim we are superior to people of other races when Jesus has chosen them? This is why it’s impossible to follow Christ and be a white nationalist: How can we claim to be sons and daughters of God while separating ourselves from our brothers and sisters? This is why it’s impossible to serve Jesus and advocate for white identity: How can your identity be found in the finished work of Jesus when you’re rooting your identity in the divisive work of Satan?
“Christians ought to reject racism, and do what they can to expose it and bring the gospel to bear upon it,” Kevin DeYoung says, “not because we love pats on the back for our moral outrage or are desperate for restored moral authority, but because we love God and submit ourselves to the authority of his Word.” (By Joe Carter).