New evidence from different studies prove that weight loss is not influenced just by what you eat, but also when you eat. Your body is a complex mechanism that works on a schedule and it adjusts to certain behaviors such as sleep, eating, exercising and walking among other activities.
What’s the Ideal Meal Time?
This is a question that crosses the minds of a lot of health-conscious people, and it’s for the right reasons. For a long time, we’ve known that eating a healthy balanced diet at intervals throughout the day can aid in weight loss. But, did you know that lack of meal timing can make your journey to a slim body a tough one?
Eating dinner early is said to improve sleep, shorten sleep latency, the time you take to fall asleep, and aid in weight loss. Researchers have determined the best dinner time if you want to slim to be between 6 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., with 6.14 p.m. being the optimal time. To support these findings, researchers say that due to changes in our lifestyles, where our bodies get used to expending a lot of energy during the day, our system slows down as we prepare to sleep. This powers down most of the functionalities in our mechanism and reduces the rate of processing food. When you eat late, the extra calories will most likely turn to fat, a recipe for gaining weight.
How Timing Affects Metabolism
Studies on fitness can be somewhat confusing. While one study concludes that your calories intake doesn’t matter as much as your dinner size, another study disputes those findings. But, one thing that we know for sure is that taking early dinner has helped many people to put their weight in check.
This strategy was heavily implemented in the ’80s and it still works today. One research back in 2011 discovered that eating late at night and going immediately to bed disrupts effective sleep patterns. The study found that late night eating negatively affected sleep latency. As a result, poor sleep contributed to weight gain. This is what happens when you have a short sleep: Leptin (starvation hormones) levels drop and ghrelin (hunger hormones) levels spike. These changes in leptin and ghrelin lead to an increase in appetite, which causes uncontrolled eating habits, a factor that contributes to weight gain. When you lose sleep, your body misinterprets this disruption for hunger and tiredness, increasing your cravings for starchy and sugary foods.
How to Adjust Eating Habits Eating Intervals
Normally, the body takes around three to five hours to digest and absorb the food you consume. After that, you start to feel hungry. It’s, therefore, recommended that you maintain regular eating time throughout the day to keep your energy levels constant and prevent a dip in blood sugar levels. This prevents excess insulin and improves fat loss. Don’t wait too long to eat your next meal. Opt for a healthy snack in between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner.
Making Healthy Choices
Protein is known to control appetite and you should aim at starting your day with foods like eggs or smoothies containing whey protein. Leave starchy carbs for lunch or dinner. Speaking of protein, whenever you eat your meal, always start with the protein first to send early ‘full’ signals to the brain. This will make you full faster and limit your food intake. ”
Don’t Eat Less Than 3 Hours to Sleep Time
There are so many things that could go wrong if you eat too close to sleep time. Your body temperature will rise, your insulin and blood sugar will increase, and the release of growth hormones will be affected. These factors contribute to sleep deprivation and your body finds it difficult to burn fat naturally. Like we all know, lack of sleep increases your cravings and you end up overeating. If circumstances force you to eat late at night, consider a healthy light snack or meal that’s low in bad fats and carbs and high in protein. Good examples include grilled chicken breast with salad or a protein shake.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Fat slows down the rate at which your stomach digests food. Alcohol, on the other hand, reduces the rate of fat loss. This combination doesn’t work well if you want a lean body. While some wine after dinner will enhance digestion, beer limits rapid fat loss.
Avoid Distractions During Mealtime
For improved metabolism, avoid eating while watching TV, working, chatting on your phone or browsing on your laptop. Pay attention to the food you’re eating and chewing. Leave work-related issues and stress behind and just enjoy your meal. Fear, anger, loneliness, and boredom are other situations that trigger cravings for sugar-rich foods and overeating. Emotion-driven eating is unhealthy and you’ll most likely make poor food choices.
The Best Time to Eat Your Meals
Life circumstances are not constant and you may find it difficult to maintain a steady eating schedule. The fact remains that restricting calorie intake works well if you’re fighting for a fit and healthy body. Find a mealtime schedule that easily fits into your lifestyle. Don’t be too strict about your diet and routine that it leads to stress when you don’t achieve your daily target. Instead, eat when you’re hungry and include lots of fruits, veggies, whole-grain foods and plenty of water in your diet.