Should you be paying more attention to the times you eat your meals?

Should you be paying more attention to the times you eat your meals?

You might have heard the phrase “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper.” But is this good health advice?

Natasha Hodge, Nutrition Consultant of Natasha Is Wide Eyed uses her decade of blood sugar control and intermittent fasting experience to make sense of a new review of multiple studies on the possible link between the timing of breakfast, lunch and dinner and its effect on metabolic function.

As nearly a quarter of the UK population is now overweight or obese, the emerging science of Chrononutrition, the timing of when to eat to maintain health, could have wide reaching implications.

The body runs on a biological clock called the circadian rhythm. Some people have early clocks, and some have late clocks which affects when they are most active and when they go to sleep etc.

In one study following 420 Spanish participants authors found that people who ate their main meal (lunch in Spain) before 3pm lost more weight than the people who ate after 3pm. So, you might conclude that the answer is cut and dried.

But Natasha says, “It becomes more complicated when you apply individual variations seen in some of the other studies reviewed here, such as the bacteria in the persons gut, their genetic makeup and whether the diet was low fat or following bariatric surgery.”

She goes on to say “Although early and late chronotypes and caloric intake are discussed, the specific types of food the participants ate in each study is not. There is a perpetual problem with nutrition studies being epidemiological, meaning that they are based on people retrospectively reporting what they ate which can be biased towards what they think they should be eating, rather than what they have actually consumed. The gold standard are randomised control trials, but those studies are usually undertaken over the course of a few weeks and do not show the sustainability of each method long term.

Based on historic globally accepted dietary guidelines we can assume low fat, high carbohydrate foods were used. Natasha believes this advice is the very reason for the obesity crisis in the first place and is in dire need of an overhaul. Our bodies respond to carbohydrates in different ways depending on time of day and activity level. So, if you are active during the day, which is when most people will be at work or exercising and breakfast/lunch was high in carbohydrate, then the activity will mean that muscles absorb the glucose, which might lead to more weight loss. These studies all highlight the critical issue of insulin response and energy metabolism which is my area of expertise. Weight gain and health issues are due to constant high blood sugar and over stimulation of insulin leading to insulin resistance.

It is easy to make sensational headline claims that they’ve found the answer, but the authors of this particular review recognises that we are a long way from understanding fully how the timing of each meal contributes to health overall.

Being insulin resistant and having dysfunctional blood glucose is the root cause of Natasha’s client’s health issues and they learn the tools to reverse it and heal themselves by eating high fat low carb foods which have a lower insulin response. Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does. Intermittent fasting plays a huge part in the protocol because it promotes insulin sensitivity and efficient fat burning. Natasha has found that timing the eating window around the circadian rhythm works, but in opposition to eating breakfast like a king, She advises her clients to break their overnight fast at approx. 11am and finish eating by 7pm when the insulin producing pancreas goes to sleep. This helps to reduce hunger and they are more likely to progress to eating two meals per day instead of three and eating both lunch and dinner like a king or queen.

In Natasha’s experience sustaining long term success comes down to regulating blood sugar and balancing not just insulin, but all our hormones by adapting to a way of eating that works with us biologically and requires no willpower because the food tastes so good.

To overcome healthy eating myths to live well for longer head over to for FREE low carb recipes, videos and information on how to get the best from your body.

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