Post by Fork Fed
For many years we’ve heard our parents tell us to have our breakfast, because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Don’t have dinner and sleep, you’ll get fat! Are all these claims really true? Well, that’s the beauty of research and science – we come to new conclusions everyday! The current research shows that when you choose to have your meals is not really correlated with your weight. I found that to be quite interesting because I, for one, hate having food when I wake up and could usually satisfy any hunger I may have with a coffee and banana.
So, you’re probably thinking what nutrient timing is really about? The idea really started with athletes and body builders to be more specific. Nutrient timing mostly referred to the anabolic window also known as the 15-30 minutes post workout where one could load on carbs and protein to replenish their muscle stores. Research has later on shown that we do not all need to be consuming a high carb high protein meal post workout to replenish our stores within 15-30 minutes, and we can actually do it within an hour or more. Again, this is RESEARCH and research is ongoing. As for consuming a meal before working out, that is only necessary depending on the intensity of your workout. Many research papers have shown that exercising in a semi-fasted state can actually help burn more fat. Again, timing your meals will all depend on what your goals are.
Let’s take a look at breakfast. Have people that changed their habits and consumed breakfast lost weight in comparison to those that opt not to have breakfast? The quick answer is it depends. The idea behind having a meal “breakfast” before lunch is to be able to better control your portion at lunch. If I choose to not have breakfast then by the time lunchtime comes around I will probably overeat and/or make wrong dietary choices. If you are not used to having a meal for breakfast and can somewhat control your hunger by lunchtime then having breakfast may lead to an over consumption of calories. Therefore you might not necessarily lose weight.
As for having dinner before going to sleep, no science has shown that it can lead to weight gain. While completely eliminating carbs at dinner or night time has not been associated with significant weight loss either. On the contrary, some research has shown that consuming carbs can actually help with relaxation and the release of serotonin at night.
So you’re probably thinking what could we further do to enhance our lifestyle and lose some weight? It all boils down to the number of calories you eat! Of course quality is important, but when it comes to weight control specifically, it doesn’t really matter when you have certain foods. As long as you stay within a certain caloric requirement for weight loss (food in is less than energy burnt) then you’ll be losing weight. Now, to stay on track and avoid falling of the bandwagon, it is important that you focus on whole grains and lean protein as well has healthy fats with lots of fruits and veggies to stay full all day! It’s not when you eat your food, it’s how much you choose to eat that will really make an impact.
Post by Hyatt Al Sayegh, a Clinical Dietitian and Dr. Sears Health Coach.
Founder of Fork Fed.