Several studies have shown that not only does what we eat matter, but when we eat matters as well. There are great benefits to eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at an established time every day.
When we repeat a behavior every day at the same time, our body adapts to it. Do you ever wake up early, without setting an alarm, even if you don’t have to go to work or school?
This adaptation allows our metabolism to work efficiently, and a more efficient metabolism is practically synonymous with healthy weight. When we don’t respect our schedule for sleeping or eating, our body stresses and releases substances that impede the digestion and metabolization of nutrients. As is often the case, most alterations in metabolism lead to weight gain and an increased risk of other diseases.
The Best Schedules for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Our breakfast should take place between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning, after an overnight fast of 8-10 hours. It is key to start the day with a hearty, healthy breakfast that includes low-fat dairy, fresh fruits, and whole grains.
The best time for lunch is between 12:30 and 1:30. We should never omit this meal because it results in compulsive “snacking” of food in the afternoon.
As for dinner, we should eat it at least two or three hours before going to sleep. The perfect time is between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., but in some countries dinner is even later, because people work until 8:00 p.m. In these cases, it’s best to have dinner as soon as possible, around 9:00 p.m.
When Should You Include Snacks?
Snacks should be eaten three hours after breakfast and three hours after lunch. When the dinner is late, you can have two snacks throughout the afternoon, for example, if dinner is at 9:00 p.m., you can have a snack at 4:00 p.m. and another at 7:00 p.m.
The Benefits of Eating at the Same Time Every Day
– Our body prepares to receive food at certain times and optimizes digestion.
– Metabolism works more efficiently and fat synthesis is not stimulated because the body learns that at a certain time it is time to metabolize the nutrients.
– We can more easily control what we eat, because we do not become ravenous before our meal. When you spend many hours without eating, or eating out of schedule, it’s more difficult not to fall into temptations or not eat an excessive amount of food, which leads to weight gain.
– Breaking-up our food intake causes an increase in the thermogenic activity of the diet, which includes the calories spent to digest, absorb and use nutrients. This break-up of our diet, that is, eating moderate amounts of food every 3 to 4 hours, allows our blood sugar to remain stable and leaves us not feeling hungry.
However, if we spend many hours without eating food, the feeling of hunger will be very intense and we can then proceed to binge eat, which stimulates the release of large concentrations of insulin, an anabolic hormone that promotes the storage of carbohydrates and fats as adipose tissue, into the blood. Insulin removes sugars from the blood to transform into fat, but the cells detect that there is little sugar and interpret it as a lack of food intake, so we again become hungry.
In order to stay healthy, we should put together an itinerary with each of our meals and respect it daily.