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Does It Matter When You Eat? The Truth About Nutrition Timing

Jun 17, 2021Food & Nutrition0 comments

We’ve all been taught that it does matter when we eat. Unfortunately, it’s hard to separate fact from habits. Even with research, the picture isn’t clear yet. Today, we’ll help you understand everything a bit more.

The consensus seems to be that what you eat matters more. That means avoiding the countless disastrous diets everyone loves.

That said, there might be more truth than you’d think about nutrition timing.

Clarifying things: Does it really matter when you eat?

The short answer is yes… kind of. The majority of studies seem to point toward that answer. Several benefits apparently stem from timing meals with circadian rhythms. However, researchers have suggested the contrary as well.

Nevertheless, nutrition timing might lead to crucial benefits. They include weight loss, hormonal regulation, and cholesterol.

Mornings are the best mealtime

Despite eating the same calories, daytime eaters might fare better. That includes triglycerides, cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.

Time could be more important than meals

As mentioned, the studies cited in the article used the same calorie count for both groups. As such, identical meals could affect us differently depending on when we eat them.

What can we learn from that?

The best call is to leave larger meals for the morning. If your goal is to lose weight, it’ll help you burn calories. However, it can also benefit your health in unexpected weight. Keep meals during daylight for the best results.

However, some professionals disagree

Interestingly, this article by WebMD suggests the contrary. Essentially, calories and nutrients don’t change with time. Burning fewer calories than what we consume leads to weight gain regardless.

What you eat still matters more than figuring out the best mealtime. Your nutritional program and physical activity should be priorities.

Research doesn’t clarify a lot

Conversely, the article mentions studies that suggest time does matter. That said, the study appeared to be relatively small and done on mice. Some experts agree that the evidence isn’t enough to change eating habits.

Still, nights aren’t the best mealtime

Nighttime meals require care. That’s because digestion can mess with your sleep quality. Nonetheless, the article does agree that a light, post-dinner snack isn’t bad.

What about nutrition timing for workouts?

The term “nutrition timing” comes from fitness programs. Originally, it referred to nutrient types and when to take them. The main thesis is that eating carbs or proteins can be better at certain times.

Does it matter when you eat while working out? That’s a simpler question. Eating carbs before working out seems obviously beneficial. However, the truth here is still more complicated.

The best mealtime used to matter when working out

Carb placement according to workouts could improve performance. That’s the main argument for nutrition timing. However, the evidence isn’t athlete-exclusive. Diabetes patients seem to respond better to carbohydrates after a workout.

The trend is dying

On the other hand, nutrition timing seems to offer mostly short-term benefits. Longer spans still require research. Similarly, fat loss and muscle gain weren’t considerations. Therefore, the theory has lost support with time.

Tips to make the most out of your nutrition timing

Despite the lack of solid evidence, we can still come to conclusions. For many people, it does matter when you eat. That goes beyond metabolic implications. You need to consider your daily schedule when eating.

If you want to keep that mentality, that’s excellent. Let me share with you a few tips for the best mealtime:

  • Eat more while the sun is out. It’ll give you more time for digestion throughout the day.
  • Don’t skip your breakfasts. It’s easy to plan a “catch-up meal” later in the day. You’ll need that energy boost in the morning to get in shape.
  • If you prefer light breakfasts, that’s fine. In many countries, lunch is the largest meal. Therefore, it’s your best choice for a hearty meal outside breakfast.
  • Finally, keep dinners light. Digestion and related issues can disrupt your sleep. A sandwich is a great pre-bedtime meal. However, keep diner a couple of hours before bed.
  • If you’re craving a snack after dinner, keep it light. A granola bar or some yogurt are your best bets.

The holistic takeaway

So, does it matter when you eat?

Yes, it’s not merely because of your metabolism. You must make enough time for a good meal every time. That means organizing yourself and prioritizing your meals.

However, nutrition timing will likely remain up to you. The best mealtime will differ between people. Just focus on what works for you. In the end, eating well and working out will yield the most benefits.


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