Do You Eat Right Around the Clock?


Clock in a Plate with Utensils

 

A healthy menu plan is one that offers a balance of nutrients. That means those fad diets that severely limit the daily intake of calories while distracting the dieter with a host of rules do not support good health. Plus, it is all too common for someone following the latest diet craze to regain the weight that he or she lost. Although we know, what you eat is important but what about when you eat. Does it matter if you skip breakfast and load up on dinner? If so, does what you eat when influence how your body responds to a particular feeding time?

Eat the Right Foods at Breakfast

In the past, many people believed a cup of coffee and a couple of donuts are what breakfast is all about. Nowadays, we know that you are setting yourself up for a mid-morning slump following a spike (and crash) in your blood sugar as your body processes the early morning carbohydrates. Unfortunately, this also stimulates hormones, which increase the feelings of hunger. Conversely, consuming more protein at breakfast increases satiety and produces a feeling of fullness.

Load Up at Lunchtime

Eating a salad or skipping lunch altogether is a popular trend among today's weight watchers. But, an internationally funded study published in the International Journal of Obesity concluded that overweight and obese adults who ate their biggest meal* (same calories, same burn) of the day before 3 p.m. lost more weight than those who ate their main meal later. Due to the presence of an active circadian clock in adipose tissue, researchers now believe the timing of your high-energy content meals may have metabolic consequences.

*NOTE: Despite the lunchtime disparity, no differences were found in weight loss dependent on the timing of the participants' breakfast or dinner meals.

More Fiber than Fat for Dinner

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, discovered that consuming a dinner meal that is high in fiber and low in saturated fats and sugar, allowed participants to fall asleep 10 minutes earlier than those who ate more fats and sweets with less fiber. A fiber-rich evening meal was also linked to more time spent in slow wave or deep sleep, which supports healthy immune function. But, close the kitchen after dinner as snacking tells your brain that it is time to be active and awake, thus suppressing feelings of sleepiness. 

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