Publisher’s Words – (Jan-Feb 2023)

Dr. Martin Kwok, ND, DrTCM

Does the timing of your meal affect how your body metabolizes food? It seems so.  A team of researchers from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) studied the metabolism of subjects who were given 3 daily meals of equivalent calories and nutritional values, with the only difference being the timing of the meals.  It turns out that subjects who ate late-evening snacks had lower lipid oxidation than those who ate breakfast1. There were no differences in physical activities, sleep pattern, core body temperature, or the duration of overnight fast. Does this mean you should avoid late-evening snack/meal, or you should have breakfast, or maybe both?

Physician burnout is linked with poor clinical care, higher rate of medical mistakes, shorter career span, and other morbidities and mortalities.  Do you know which medical specialties are most likely to have a burnout in the US?  Data from a published 2021 paper shows that physicians specialized in family medicine and oncology/hematology are at a higher risk of burnout2. In addition, physicians who spent more than 6 hours per week performing after-work EHR charting were more likely to report burnout symptoms. Researchers suggested that additional EHR may reduce physician burnout rate. I also believe more physicians (and other health care practitioners) can benefit from one of the fundamental principles of naturopathic medicine – physician heal thyself (“cura te ipsum”), a concept attributed to Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. 

Martin Kwok, ND, DrTCM

1 Kelly KP, et al. Eating breakfast and avoiding late-evening snacking sustains lipid oxidation. PLoS Biol. 2020 Feb 27;18(2):e3000622. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio. 3000622. eCollection 2020 Feb.

2 Eschenroader Jr HC, et al. Associations of physician burnout with organizational electronic health record support and after-hours charting. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 2021 May; 28(5): 960-966.