When to Eat is as Important as What to Eat: Simple Rules to Follow

Hello everyone:

 The good news is that all of us have probably heard that the pandemic phase of Covid has ended. Lockdowns and working from home have caused a significant number of sub-optimal issues with food that have resulted in poor health outcomes. But now we can move on…and one important strategy that is easy to implement is meal timing. As it turns out, when we eat is as important as what we eat. There is more and more evidence to support this finding as reported in the research literature and why this is so important:


“When your biological clocks are out of sync with the environment, health can be negatively affected. For example, we know that the body expects to use certain kinds of fuel (i.e., fat, sugar) at specific times of the day. Your body is best at digesting food/drinks when you are active and light is present. Thus, eating/drinking when your body expects you to sleep/rest, and it is dark, can disrupt this system and compromise metabolism. In contrast, a consistent daily cycle of eating and fasting may nurture a healthy circadian clock and optimize metabolism. Indeed, in rodents, a regular daily schedule of eating and fasting keeps them healthy. The science of circadian biology is offering new clues on potential optimal meal-timing patterns.”

Bottom Line:

Here are the simple rules to follow as a part of your plan to promote optimal health and to protect your future, as well as how to improve your health overall such as when we want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight:

What is the best eating pattern? There are almost no studies in humans comparing different meal-timing schedules to determine if one meal-timing strategy is better than the others. From what we know, our best available research suggests that 3 meal-timing habits are likely important for good health:

  1. a consistent daily eating duration of fewer than 12 h per day,
  2. eating most calories in the earlier part of the day, and
  3. avoiding food intake close to bedtime, while sleeping, or very early morning, when melatonin levels are high.

The authors also state: It is also important to note that the response to a given dietary pattern may be different across different individuals; what may be optimal for one person may be different for another. Individuals should work with a health care provider knowledgeable in nutrition when considering new dieting strategies.”

 I have found that to be very true. Some do well skipping breakfast but following the other rules, especially the light dinner. Some do well following rule #2…but all of us should follow rule #3!! What rule #3 means is to stop all calories at least 3 hours before bed. I personally follow all 3 rules, and this has helped me a great deal, and I have witnessed it works for healthy and sustained weight management for most. Go for it!!

Here is another interesting article that is fun to read and offers some important insights:




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