Did you ever stop to think about the specific times of day when you eat? If you haven’t given it much thought, you might want to start. Recent research into eating and how the times of day affect fat loss, blood sugar control, and even cognitive thinking are quite revealing. Let’s take a closer look at just how much the time of day you’re eating affects your health.
The Timing Test
Observe yourself for a day or two, and take note of what times of day you typically eat — and what you are eating at those times. Do you eat breakfast, or do you skip it? Do you go several hours before you eat again, or are you a snacker? Do you tend to eat small meals every couple of hours around the clock? Are you one of those people who drinks most of the sugar you consume? The answers to these questions can help you take better control of your weight, your sleep, your blood sugar, and how you feel throughout the day.
Skipping breakfast generally is a no-no. Eating first thing in the morning helps rev up your metabolism and gives you the energy you need for the rest of the day. People who skip breakfast tend to experience what’s widely known as “that afternoon slump.” You know–that late afternoon “I-could-use-nap” feeling. In a controlled study, overweight women who ate more of their calories early in the day had better blood sugar control and improved lipid levels. They also lost more weight than those who skipped breakfast and ate more later in the day.
These findings suggest it is beneficial to consume the bulk of your calories earlier in the day, as opposed to nighttime. Research also shows melatonin, which is produced only in the dark, interferes with insulin signaling. Therefore, it is a good idea not to eat a big meal right before going to bed. For more information on what breakfast foods help fire up your metabolism, check out this article.
Benefits of Fasting
Many people speak of the benefits of fasting, or the practice of not eating for very specific amounts of time. Some people fast for religious reasons, others for health reasons. We can see the health benefits of fasting. Recent studies have shown fasting to be beneficial in preventing disease. It also aids in metabolism control and cellular production, and protects from inflammation. Fasting helps reduce rates of obesity and high blood pressure as well as some forms of arthritis.
Eating Light at Night
A study of adults with Type 2 Diabetes who ate a large breakfast and a large lunch, but nothing for dinner confirmed the benefits of timing your larger meals to be earlier in the day. The first set of Type 2 diabetics ate the same amount of calories as the second set, who ate six small meals spaced throughout the day. The early eaters lost more body fat and improved their body’s response to insulin.
The Clock Matters
Watching the clock and planning your meals for earlier in the day is a beneficial practice. Adults who do so experience better insulin sensitivity, fat loss, more energy, and improved sleep at night. If you want to lose more fat and feel physically better, experiment with the timing of your meals to see what works for you.