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Does It Matter When You Eat?

Does It Matter When You Eat?

Three science-backed reasons to front-load your calorie intake

We all know that what you eat matters, but when you consume food is equally important. According to ancient Chinese philosophy, the sun’s movements guide the energy flow within your body—7:00 - 9:00 A.M. is for the stomach, which is when you should eat the biggest meal of your day; 9.00 - 11:00 A.M. is for the pancreas; and 11:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. is for the heart. Dinner, which is to be consumed between 5:00 - 7:00 P.M., is for the kidneys and thus, should be a light bite. Downsizing your meals as the day goes on and aligning them to your natural circadian rhythm is linked to multiple health benefits—think slimmer waistline, better gut health and restful sleep patterns.

Maintain your weight

Eating more calories in the day helps maintain weightPhoto by Diva Plavalaguna from Pexels

Studies have confirmed that eating more calories as the day progresses is linked to obesity. According to one study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, people who eat a big, hearty breakfast burn more calories in comparison to those who eat a large dinner. One group consumed a low-calorie breakfast and a high-calorie dinner while the second group consumed a high-calorie breakfast and a low-calorie dinner. Eating a heavier meal at night not only led to greater weight gain in the first group, but also increased their blood glucose and insulin levels. This can also increase the risks attached to other problems like diabetes and heart diseases.

Focus on gut health

Improve your gut health by eating more calories in the dayPhoto by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

Matching your eating schedule to your internal clock helps improve gut health. Our metabolism follows its own circadian rhythm, which is capable of dictating the flow of hunger-related hormones and enzymes. Research has shown that the metabolic rate usually slows down at night, making it harder for the body to digest heavy foods. Focusing on eating a well-balanced breakfast—like eggs and fruit—lowers blood glucose and insulin levels.

Improve sleep patterns

Sleep better by front-loading your calorie intakePhoto by cottonbro from Pexels

Scientists have found that our bodies cope better when we eat more at the start of the day and less as the day progresses. Overeating in the evenings can lead to indigestion, which negatively affects sleeping patterns. Lack of proper sleep is also linked to weight gain and obesity. In another study, regular sleep patterns were linked to a happy, healthy lifestyle with a calmer, more peaceful outlook on life.

Given our hectic work schedules and family obligations, following a strict meal plan with an even stricter meal time may be difficult. Follow the below-mentioned points to easily harness the benefits of well-timed and well-planned meals.

  • Eat a well-balanced breakfast: Include proteins, carbohydrates and plant-based fats. Do not skip this meal. It is known to reduce blood sugar spikes throughout the day and also keeps your hunger hormones in check.
  • Limit snacking and keep dinner light: If you do eat a hearty breakfast, it is likely that you will use that food fuel as energy and not crave more food. For dinner, keep it simple by including grilled chicken, fish or lentils with green leafy vegetables.

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FEATURED IMAGE COURTESY: Vegan Liftz from Pexels