Digestive Health: Timing is Everything

Is it better for your gut health to eat your largest meal early in the day or later? Typically most people eat their biggest meal for dinner which of course ends up being at the end of the day. But is this really the best thing to do in order to maintain gut health?

Most experts lean toward beginning the day with your biggest meal and scaling down as you move through the day. There are several reasons for this recommendation. First of all, how quickly food travels through the stomach, gastric emptying, as well as nutrient absorption, is believed to slow down in the evening. Therefore, eating a large dinner late in the day might lead to sub-optimal digestion and absorption of that meal.

Another reason to opt for earlier rather than later is that lying down shortly after eating, especially a big meal, can cause gastric acids to back up into the esophagus, resulting in GERD, which can lead to another whole host of problems.

Finally, eating your biggest meal of the day earlier rather than later could be the secret to reaching your healthiest weight. Even if you practice intermittent fasting, as I do, you can still have your most substantial meal earlier in the day. It is always a good idea, regardless of when you eat your dinner, to try and make sure you do so at least 3 hours before bedtime to allow for proper digestion.

That being said, your stress levels also matter as well as how well you chew your food. I recommend taking several slow, deep breaths before eating any meal and paying attention to how you feel. It is never a good idea to eat when you are anxious, stressed or upset as your digestion will be compromised. Eating in a way that optimizes your gut health will benefit your overall health.

So, are you an early bird or a night owl when it comes to your meal timing?

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About amusico

I am a holistic health coach and independent nutritional consultant. All my coaching plans are based on my 3-D Living program and a big part of that are the Youngevity Products and Supplements I proudly offer! Visit my website at http://www.threedimensionalvitality.com and learn more about the products and my coaching plans!
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12 Responses to Digestive Health: Timing is Everything

  1. Guilty as charged Ms. Ann. Have always been a “meat and taters” eater; and while I’ve long known that eating lighter as the day goes on is a better choice. While I’ve been known to eat a hearty breakfast (to fuel the day; that’s my excuse anyway), my lunches are usually pretty skimpy. My downfall is dinner. Now I’m going to blame that on my wife because she always makes too much delicious food, but if I’m honest, it could always be lunch tomorrow. 🙂 Thanks as always for showing us the right things to do, even though we don’t always do them.

    • amusico says:

      Certainly no condemnation here J.D. That’s what most of us grew up doing. It was my own habit for many years. Sometimes it just helps to know there is another way and we can try it occasionally and see how it feels. Thank you as always for your honest comments.

  2. Terry Palmer says:

    Thanks. Good thing I chose to read this while having my big bowl of breakfast oatmeal, whew… As an ol’ papa, I’m drawn to comfort food, usually later in the day, but my farm days taught me long ago to eat well early. My precious wife, who has diabetes and fibro, has to eat well early or the day is a chase of bad numbers and amen. ol’ papa

  3. Holly Scherer says:

    I’m totally a late eater. I need to get on a better schedule. It’s especially hard as the days get longer and we go on evening bike rides and eat dinner after that. But I know there are better solutions. Thanks for the reminder!

    • amusico says:

      You are a very healthy and health conscious person. We are all different and perhaps this works fine for you, particularly in the summer months when you are more apt to be out later riding.

  4. debwilson2 says:

    Ann, I’m afraid my appetite generally grows as the day progresses. But I am also a night owl. I can get hungry before bed if I don’t eat enough at supper. So I need to look at all my habits!

    • amusico says:

      Debbie we are all different and if that works for you – great! There’s no one size fits all. That being said, often we are creatures of habit and are so used to doing things a certain way, and our bodies are trained. It takes some effort and time to change that if it needs to be changed, but it can be done. I’ve made numerous changes over the years. As I learn more, I try to do better. No worries my friend!

  5. I have the same thoughts about the impact of diet on digestive health.Thanks for sharing such useful information!

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