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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 267-268

Kalabhojanam − Effective intervention to minimize the metabolic disorders

Vice-Chancellor, National Institute of Ayurveda Deemed to be University (De - Novo), Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Date of Submission28-Nov-2022
Date of Decision28-Nov-2022
Date of Acceptance28-Nov-2022
Date of Web Publication17-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Sanjeev Sharma
National Institute of Ayurveda Deemed to be University (De - Novo), Jaipur, Rajasthan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/joa.joa_292_22

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How to cite this article:
Sharma S. Kalabhojanam − Effective intervention to minimize the metabolic disorders. J Ayurveda 2022;16:267-8

How to cite this URL:
Sharma S. Kalabhojanam − Effective intervention to minimize the metabolic disorders. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 6];16:267-8. Available from: http://www.journayu.in/text.asp?2022/16/4/267/364048

For the continuation of life process, the three substances named; air, water, and food are very essential. Without these three or even one or two of these three, the life journey cannot be continued or sustained. Air (oxygen) is essential because it nourishes our red blood cells which in turn nourishes other tissues, organs, and body. If the quality of the air falls, it will have worst impact on all of the tissues and organs. Hence, it is essential that the quality of air must be very good so that it can run the business of life in the body. It is continuously being observed that the quality of air is falling down due to various environmental pollutions. Several WHO studies surprisingly have also revealed that the quality of air in indoors is very poor than in outdoors. A similar situation is with the water. More than 60% of our body is composed of water and many physiological or metabolic activities cannot take place in the absence of water. For a healthy life and body activities, water is essentially required. However, due to various reasons such as scarce availability of water, contamination, pollution, and faulty water management, good quality or sufficient water sometimes is not generally available. Drinking polluted or contaminated water may lead to many infectious or noninfectious diseases. Similarly, good quality food with proper timing of its consumption is extremely important for the life journey and health of an individual. Our body and health status generally reflect what we eat and how we eat. A good quality food provides us with macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), micronutrients (minerals and trace elements) and vitamins which are for the energy, metabolism, growth and development of the body, to accomplish various physiological processes, physical activities, and mental activities. However, mistimed and improperly consumed food may have adverse effects on health and may cause many metabolic disorders resulting in diseases or syndromes popularly known as metabolic syndrome.

When we talk about food and its other aspects (quantity, quality, method of preparation method of consumption, and frequency), the timing of the food intake is very important factor. In the whole world, food timings have wide variations and depend upon individual choice, local food habits, culture, religion, profession, and many other factors. In the scientific community also, there is no consensus on the food timings and frequency; hence, recommendations regarding the food composition and its timing differ. However, food intake timings are now being considered important for metabolic health and are the subject of interest for many years.[1],[2] There are conflicting outcomes from epidemiological and experimental studies. Most of the earlier epidemiological studies show the reduced disease risk with increased frequency of food intake but experimental studies do not support rather contradict this fact.[3] Few recent studies also contradict the fact that the increased food intake frequency reduces the disease risk. This whole subject requires further studies. However, it is confirmed that the quality and quantity of food, its frequency and intermittent fasting definitely influence the metabolism and disease risk. Breakfast, nighttime food intake, caloric value, and intermittent fasting are very important factors which need to be considered while studying the impact of food and its timing on health. Paoli et al. have concluded that regular food patterns such as higher energy proportion intake in the early part of the day in the form of breakfast, reduced food frequency (23 times/day) and regular fasting may have beneficial effects on the inflammation, gut microbiota, and autophagy.[4] Animal studies have shown that high-fat diet consumed during the rest phase increases body weight than when the same diet is consumed during the active phase.[3]

In the present scenario, it is not possible and practical to recommend a very mechanical or rigid timing schedule for food intake due to varied lifestyle and different other factors as discussed above. At the same time, the food and nutrition requirements also vary according to age, physical activity level, health and disease status, and status of digestive fire (Agni). While recommending the food consumption timings and frequency, we have to take all these factors into the consideration. Metabolic disturbances can lead to many diseases such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancers, increased body mass index, altered lipid profile, kidney disorders, osteopenia or osteoporosis, etc., These risks or disturbances are primarily due to the food but are modifiable by physical activity, correcting the food habits and change of lifestyle in the alignment of the circadian rhythm. Among food habits, the timing of the food is having a strong relationship with health. Many food intake measures have been advocated to correct metabolic health and keep body weight under control. Most popular one include rich fiber diet, low calorie diet, alterations in nutrients, low-fat diet, intermittent fasting, etc., Calorie restrictions and weight loss by altering macronutrients are considered the best solution. Dietary intake modifications are also used as therapeutic measures to overcome metabolic syndrome. Among these, the intermittent fasting is very popular and recommended by contemporary scientist. Intermittent fasting is the dietary schedule in which the food intakes (having caloric values) are refrained for longer or extended time duration. There are many types of intermittent fasting such as Time Restricted Fasting (fasting from 12 to 16 h or longer and taking food in the remaining time window), 5:2 diet (taking food normally for 5 days in a week and for remaining 2 days restricting the diet up to 500-600 calories), eat stop eat (normal eating with one or two fasts of 24 h duration in a week), alternate day fasting (fasting every other day) and the Warrior Diet (eating small amounts of fruits and vegetables and heavy meals at night). These various types of intermittent fasting are useful but are having many pros and cons associated with these. It is not easy and practical to switch over on these diet schedules and maintain for longer durations. Furthermore, the intermittent fasting is not suitable to all individuals equally and can even be dangerous to children, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, diabetics, and diseased or injured persons, etc., Because nutritional demands in these individuals are entirely different and may call for different types of food intake schedules.

In Ayurveda, various aspects the food (food, diet, and dietetics), its preparation, methodology of food consumption, and food timings have minutely been discussed. To establish the relationship of food timings and health in a positive way, the use of Ayurveda principles can be highly useful. Very carefully, it has been stated that the best way of food consumption is the time schedule, i.e., Kalabhojanam (timely food consumption) and not as ad libitum (as much or as often as necessary or desired) strategy.[5] Kalabhojanamcan be highly useful to prevent many metabolic disturbances and revert back the disease process. This single principle if followed can bring many positive health changes. Kalabhojanam term is made up of two words, i.e., Kala which refers to time and Bhojanam refers to food. This means that food should be consumed at proper time. The question arises what is this Kala or proper time of food consumption? Critical analysis of Ayurveda principles shows that this time schedule of food consumption (Kalabhojanam) differs entirely from the time recommended under the theory of intermittent fasting. In Ayurveda, Kala or proper food time simply means that when earlier consumed food is well digested and the individual feels hungry. This approach is entirely individualistic, nonrigid, and practical and closely associated with the individual's Prakriti (body constitution), Agni (status of the digestive system as whole), and type food earlier consumed. Hence, here Kala or food time is not strictly according to the clock time but grossly related to the status of the digestive system and hunger. Ayurveda recommends one-time or two times food intake strategy during the daytime window. Night food consumptions are not recommended and also if the food taken in the evening is not digested properly then food intake at the morning hours is contraindicated. Ayurveda correlates dietary intakes with circadian rhythms. Hence, for good health status and avoid many metabolic disorders, it seems essential to follow the Kalabhojanam strategy.

It has been observed that mistimed food can have many negative impacts on overall health. Timings of the food intake are influenced by many factors such as social and cultural determinants, personal preferences, professional or job compulsions, disease or health status, stress levels, economic status, and availability of food. However, creating awareness about food timings in society at the mass level can sensitize the public and can bring changes. Today, it is being observed that people are not very much aware about food and nutrition concepts including its timings. There are certain vulnerable populations in society who under compulsion or by habit are prone to mistimed food like nightshift workers, exam-going students, busy office hours, people with poor or limited access to food, laborers, dependants, travelers or jobs requiring frequent touring, and habitual late evening or midnight eaters. These populations and masses can be sensitized about the food timings, i.e., Kalabhojanam in a programmed manner, and many metabolic disorders can be addressed to head toward a healthy individual, society, and nation.

  References Top

Garaulet M, Gómez-Abellán P. Timing of food intake and obesity: A novel association. Physiol Behav 2014;134:44-50.  Back to cited text no. 1
Pérez-Martínez P, Mikhailidis DP, Athyros VG, Bullo M, Couture P, Covas MI, et al. Lifestyle recommendations for the prevention and management of metabolic syndrome: An international panel recommendation. Nutr Rev 2017;75:307-26.  Back to cited text no. 2
Paoli A, Tinsley G, Bianco A, Moro T. The Influence of Meal Frequency and Timing on Health in Humans: The Role of Fasting. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 28;11(4):719. doi: 10.3390/nu11040719. PMID: 30925707; PMCID: PMC6520689.  Back to cited text no. 3
Arble DM, Bass J, Laposky AD, Vitaterna MH, Turek FW. Circadian timing of food intake contributes to weight gain. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2009;17:2100-2.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sharma PV. Caraka Samhita (text with english translation),Sutrasthan, ch. 25, ver. 40, Vol. I, Varanasi : Chaukhambha Orientalia; 2012. p. 169-172.  Back to cited text no. 5


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