First, it’s important to remember that a gain in body weight only occurs when there is a change in calories consumed or calories burned. A calorie is a calorie, but there are conditions where food calories could influence your tendency to gain weight or lose it. For example, it is known that different foods have a different ability to make you feel full, which can influence your food choices later in the day and ultimately influence your total calorie intake.
If you feel full, you are less likely to snack. High protein meals for breakfast have been shown to reduce food cravings and help reduce snacking later in the day. A high protein meal kick-starts a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates feelings of reward. The reward response is an important part of eating because it helps to regulate how much food you eat.
Also, when you eat may influence your drive to be physically active. If you have a large dinner, you might feel weighed down and less motivated to be active, so your chances of burning calories are reduced.
Eating late in the evening is linked to weight gain and obesity, whereas research shows that eating breakfast is linked to a lower risk of obesity. This supports the theory that it’s better to eat your main meal earlier rather than later. But is not true for all types of breakfast. In one study, people who ate meat or eggs for breakfast (or both) were significantly more likely to have a higher body mass index than people who ate cereal or bread for breakfast. Not all breakfasts are created equal.
Different cultures have different approaches to patterns of eating, for example in Spain, a larger midday meal is common, followed by an afternoon siesta and evening tapas (small plates of food). Research by the University of Murcia in Spain shows that overweight women who consumed more at lunchtime lost more weight than those who consumed a larger evening meal, highlighting that changes in meal timing can influence obesity and success of weight loss therapy.
Is breakfast a coffee on the go or a sit down full English – or do you skip it altogether? If you don’t usually eat breakfast, just adding it in won’t necessarily lead to spontaneous weight loss. Research in obese adults, shows that some people even gain weight when they do this. We need more research to understand whether breakfasts of specific composition (high fibre or high protein) could improve weight management, and to understand the mechanisms that would best allow this.
For the moment, the idea that eating breakfast is associated with a lower risk of obesity and that eating late is linked with obesity is not conclusive as the evidence comes from observational studies, which can’t show cause and effect. So, for breakfast eaters, it is possible that lifestyle factors that may not have been accounted for in these studies, such as physical activity or smoking status, could explain the results. We need more evidence before we can support or reject the idea that timing of eating is important for body weight and health.
Lark or owl?
So how can we assess these claims about when to eat? Actually, the truth is that one diet message does not fit all people. Some people will be able to control body weight better with a big breakfast and some with a large evening meal. You can assess your own biological bias.
Are you an owl or a lark? Knowing your own tendency to feel alert and energetic – your “chronotype” – can help you plan your eating, work and sleep patterns. There are online quizzes to find out if you an early bird or night owl.
As we understand this interaction of time of day and metabolism better, we will be able to give more accurate dietary advice to the individual that is not only related to nutritional composition, but also time of eating. But first, we need more chrono-nutrition research (time of eating linked to circadian rythm) to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge.
About The Author
Alex Johnstone, Personal Chair in Nutrition, The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen and Peter Morgan, Chair professor, University of Aberdeen
The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss: A revolutionary approach to conquer cravings, overcome food addiction, and lose weight without going hungry
Studio: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Label: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Manufacturer: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Chef AJ’s larger than life personality will smooth the path to the diet you must follow to enjoy the health and happiness you deserve. Her personal and professional experiences have earned her the right to be considered the world expert on “Making the Change.”—John McDougall, MD, cofounder of the McDougall Program
In her new book, plant-based diet expert Chef AJ provides you with not only tips and techniques to begin your weight-loss journey but also the secrets to tasty homemade dishes that will fill you up without adding on the pounds.
Chef AJ is here to prove to you that eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. With The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss,she covers
- the ways her own weight-loss journey inspired her professional career,
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- the seven c’s to weight-loss success,
- the invaluable concept of calorie density,
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From oven-roasted ratatouille to the best no-bean burgers around, Chef AJ shows you how satisfying and slimming a plant-based weight-loss plan can be.
- Grand Central Publishing
Brand: Grand Central Publishing
Studio: Grand Central Life & Style
Label: Grand Central Life & Style
Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style
Manufacturer: Grand Central Life & Style
Readers will enjoy a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, lean meats/fish/poultry, nuts/beans/seeds, heart healthy fats, and limited amounts of whole grains. Banished are the empty calories from refined grains and added-sugars. The result: improved metabolism, lower body fat, improved strength and cardiovascular fitness--with the diet plan proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure without medication, and without counting calories!
Superior to the original DASH diet for heart health and turbocharged for weight loss.
Studio: Rockridge Press
Label: Rockridge Press
Publisher: Rockridge Press
Manufacturer: Rockridge Press
The 21-Day Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Challenge is the first targeted meal plan and exercise guide to help you lose weight fast on ketogenic diet.
Real weight loss is a combined approach of diet, exercise, and a healthy mindset. The 21-Day Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Challenge combines the ketogenic diet with effective wellness strategies for a results-driven, kick-start plan to lose weight permanently.
This 21-day ketogenic diet challenge tells you what to eat and when with a clear, easy-to-follow meal plan that includes more than 100 keto-friendly recipes. To complement your diet, The 21-Day Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Challenge also offers guidance on other fundamental elements of weight loss, including exercise, sleep, and stress management.
The 21-Day Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Challenge gives you the tools to jumpstart your healthier lifestyle with:
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- A wellness tracker that supports your weekly weight loss goals with exercise guidelines and advice for other healthy habits
The 21-Day Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Challenge is an actionable plan to lose weight fast with recipes and workouts for a slimmer, healthier you.