I’ve written before about the importance of paying attention to when you eat as well as to what and how much you eat. Timing is more important than you may think and it is one reason for the many health benefits enjoyed by those who practice intermittent fasting. Contrary to previous recommendations, constant eating or grazing throughout the day and late into the night – even if you break the usual 3 meals down to 6 smaller ones isn’t necessarily a healthier way to go.
In this post today, however, I want to touch on the importance of eating earlier in the day and the health benefits associated with that. My kids always thought we were a weird family since we tended to eat dinner by 4 pm the latest (depending on their after school and sports activities when they were younger). The big joke was that only senior citizens eat such early dinners. Joke is on them since technically we are now senior citizens! Seriously though even now we eat dinner around 3 pm and as I practice a 16/8 intermittent fasting schedule most days I then do not eat again until I break my fast at 8 am with my bulletproof morning elixir.
Well research has borne out what I’ve always known – eating earlier in the day promotes better health as well as making weight management much easier, which I explain in more detail in Today is Still the Day. What are some of the benefits you ask?
Better fasting glucose and insulin levels, less insulin resistance and therefore lowered diabetes risk;
Lower blood pressure and lower cardiovascular disease risk.
Every 1% increase in calories consumed in the evening (after 6 pm) increased the likelihood of higher blood pressure and body mass index and poorer long-term control of blood sugar according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in November, 2019.
Calories are burned differently when they are consumed early in the day as opposed to later in the evening. Timing of meals during the normal circadian rhythm (day/night cycle) affects whether and how much the food you eat is used versus stored. Therefore, despite the number of calories eaten and calories burned being the same in both groups in the study, those who ate at night would theoretically gain more weight than those who ate an earlier meal, suggesting that a daily fast between the evening meal and breakfast can optimize weight management.
Do you eat the bulk of your calories earlier or later in the day? Would you be willing to change that?
Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.
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Guilty as charged Ms. Ann. While I eat breakfast earlier than most (although most days it’s after I’ve fed all the farm animals), I’m terrible about “grazing” at night. Dinner/Supper is my big meal of the day (I know, wrong!). But two hours after dinner it’s time for a couple of pieces of cheese, a graham cracker and small glass of milk, or maybe a tall glass of cornbread and buttermilk. Then, an hour later, it’s off the bed. I know “Coach”, completely the wrong thing to do. Still, better than always reaching for the potato chips and sugary soft drinks. I’m a slow learner, but I am learning. 🙂 Thank you for your patient teaching ma’am.
J.D. you will not get any condemnation from me. We all have our habits and your lifestyle is different from mine, my friend, so you make changes as you feel the need. And I would agree, your choices are better than chips and sugary soda.