Our doctoral candidate, Allysen Kelly BSN RN, explains when you eat is just as important as what you eat:
We’ve always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but does this really stand? What about lunch– poor thing has been ignored! In reality, research shows that if you’re trying to lose weight it may be more beneficial to rearrange meals so that the biggest and most filling meal is midday.
While it hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, there is a relationship that exists between when we eat and overall weight control. Unfortunately many people eat a light breakfast, a light to moderate lunch, and a heavy dinner. Think about your favorite restaurant, chances are there is a lunch menu with smaller portions and a dinner menu with serving plates double in size. We are accustomed to eating large dinners which we now know to be a reason for expanding waist lines. Because our metabolism (the rate we burn calories) is strongly linked to circadian rhythms (our sleep cycles), eating larger meals closer to nighttime may cause weight gain. In fact, a study using 420 people showed that those who eat their largest meal before 3pm lost more weight and had an easier time maintaining a lighter weight then those who ate a large, late dinner.
I say, let’s switch it up! Try adjusting your eating schedule to include a light breakfast, a hearty lunch (most calories, largest portion, think dinner for lunch) and for dinner chose another small, light meal. If structured eating isn’t your thing, just try eating the bulk of your calories between 11 am and 3 pm, making sure your last meal is several hours before you go to sleep.