Not many of us know it, but knowing when you should eat is as important is What You Eat.
There has been a long running debate amongst nutrition scientist about the best diet for optimal health. However, there is a growing body of research focusing on the impact of when you eat on good health.
Understand Your Circadian Rhythm To Understand When You Should Eat
We each have a circadian rhythm, which the innate 24-hour cycle that tells our bodies when to wake up, when to sleep and when to eat. Studies show that disrupting this rhythm — by eating late meals or snacks — could be a recipe for metabolic trouble and likely to result in weight gain.
Daily changes in light combined with other environmental factors like temperature stimulate different processes in the body like digestion, blood pressure, body temperature and melatonin (the sleep hormone) You will probably find it harder to motivate yourself in the winter to exercise as the days are shorter and UV light is less. Nature is amazing isn’t it, when mother nature produces less food the lack of light triggers our winter body to go into a semi-dormant state, so we need to eat less!
However, modern life has lots of artificial stimulants and you may find your natural biological processes (including sleep) disrupted by the blue light emitted from screens (and fools the body into thinking it’s daytime)
When You Should Eat?
During the Day!
The Gut Functions Best During Daylight Hours
Essentially, studies every organ has an internal clock that governs its daily cycle of activity. Now it makes sense why we react differently to daytime drinking.
In addition, the gut also has a clock that influences how efficiently it processes and digests food. Research suggests that cells and microbes in the gut have their own circadian rhythms. We can improve our gut health by taking care of our circadian system, and vice versa Taking prebiotics and probiotics eating fermented foods (such as natural yogurt and kefir) can help regulate your circadian rhythms by improving the health of your gut microbes.
Our Insulin Is Better Managed During The Day
The pancreas produces insulin (involved in converting food into energy and storing excess energy as fat) manages blood sugar levels. The functioning of the pancreas slows down at night.
Just like jetlag can mess with your body’s natural circadian rhythm and affect your energy levels and your health, so can eating at the wrong times of day. These concepts help explain why jet lag creates brain fog and fatigue. Basically, when you eat outside of our normal time zone, we force our organs to work at times they’re not used being most efficient.
Our Microbiome Impact Our Health
Health is innately linked to the microbiome on our systems. Our microbiome are the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in our body, doing a really important job to keep us healthy. Its state impacts your immune system (how your body handles infections and injuries); metabolic system (how your body uses food and operates overall); neurological system; and digestive well-being. Researchers have found that the microbiota is diurnal, meaning that it is more active in the daytime than at night.
It’s Easier To Manage Cravings If You Know When You Should Eat
So, have you notice how your cravings tend to hit after 4pm. Especially in the winter. By eating earlier, you will have less time from craving to when you eat your evening meal. It’s much easier to resist the biscuits when you know you’ve got a yummy meal to look forward to in an hour.
It Allows For A 14-Hour Cleanse/Fast
Although you have heard about fasting or intermittent fasting, the idea of going without food for a day or two was probably enough to make you balk at the idea. However, we fast every night – hence why we have break-fast.
It is much easier for your body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low. An article in cell metabolism states “When you’re constantly giving the body calories, you’re constantly making your cells work,”. Just as your body and brain feel refreshed after a good night’s sleep, the researchers reveal how fasting can help restore and rejuvenate your organs.
Our Energy Levels And Motivation Are Better During The Day
Because our body is working during the day, just as we are, it is normal for the evening to be the time for our energy levels to decline. When we focus on eating during the day, we find our motivation to stick to our intention is easier the earlier we eat. By not putting temptation in our path and recognising that evening can be a time at when we are most tempted by the biscuit barrel it is much easier to resist the temptations.
How To Do It
1# Eat Larger Meals In The Morning
Eating earlier in the day is indicated as being optimal for metabolic wellbeing, however that doesn’t mean you should skip dinner. A better option is to eat light evening meals. A research study in Israel gave two groups of people the same food items with the same number of calories. They found that over twice as much weight was lost and participants had greater improvements in blood sugar, insulin when they ate a satisfying breakfast, small lunch and light dinner compared to a group eating small breakfasts and large dinners. They also showed better fasting blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides, even though the same exact foods and total calories were the consumed by both groups.
#2 Build Day Time Eating Into Your Daily Routine
Undoubtedly, eating within an 8-hour window such as 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. sounds near impossible if you’re managing a busy life with kids and work.
It is recommended you start with a 12-hour window of eating and build a routine as close to the 8 hour time frame as possible.
There is always a way to make something work. However, we each lead very different lives with very different pressures. No one knows you better than you know yourself. and you know the best way you can make this work for you, don’t you?
#3 Keep Yourself Hydrated
If like, me you’re getting on a bit, there can be a tendency to watch when you drink in the evening, so you’re not doing the dreading toilet trips during your sleeping hours. However, keeping yourself hydrated regularly, during the day and evening will help you keep your body working most efficiently. If you drink liquids regularly, you will notice that you won’t have the pressure to go to the toilet as much at night.
#4 Make Easy Tweaks To Change When You Should Eat?’
Think about how you can stretch the time. Consider bringing your breakfast to work of eating the minute you wake up. Get the next days dinner prepped the night before so in the evening you can enjoy the evening meal with the kids rather than waiting until after you put them down.
People who stop eating at 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. at night are less likely to indulge in dessert and alcohol and will therefore see the biggest difference [in health and weight loss].
#5 Eating Is A Habit That You Can Change
When we change our routine -just like when we change anything – it takes a little while to adjust. Initially it may be different, and it is likely you will feel hungry. This type of hunger is healthy and can help us connect to real hunger as opposed to cravings. After three to four hours of not eating, when the body is depleted of sugar, it is ready to tap into the carbohydrates that get stored in your liver, which is beneficial. Overnight fasting helps in a different wat: By morning, in the last four hours of our fast, we are literally burning fat.
Once we have got past the initial two to three weeks, the body will settle, and the benefits will kick in. and you will likely find yourself finding it easier to say no to unnecessary food. To emphasize the health benefits, it is not about not eating, or cutting calories; it’s about reducing the eating period so you’re not eating during the time when you don’t actually need fuel.
#6 Manage Your Meals (And Keep In The Protein)
Undeniably being really hungry is unpleasant. That’s exactly why diets fail, because we don’t like the feeling. Even the thought of being hungry is enough to put most people off, in addition to the feeling of deprivation. Eating the right kinds of foods can prevent the rage monster coming out.
Whether you’re eating in or taking a meal to go eating a breakfast packed with protein, fibre and healthy fats will help curb the hunger. Then, eat a light lunch and a dinner which should include protein, fat, and a healthy carbohydrate like whole-grain bread, which will help see you through the night.
So, When You Should Eat?
In summary, all the information in this article is research based.
Each of our bodies is unique and responds differently. I believe the best thing to do, is absorb this advice, experiment and notice the results.
The key thing is remembering that you must eat. As mentioned before, there is a tendency to think we should skip meals and nothing is further than the truth. Eating an unprocessed, natural diet at the right time will help you make your weight loss journey effortless.
When we try things with an open mind, we can draw our own conclusion on what works best for us.
Read more about how to become slim, happy and healthy.