There is more to weight loss than simply watching calories, which is why many diets focus on food quality or macronutrients.  While this approach may help some people loss weight , the reality is that there is still a lot we don’t know about, especially when It comes to environmental and biological variables that facilitate ( or hinder) weight loss efforts.

One of the variables that has recently been of interest to researchers is the impact of meal timing.   Over the past five years , several studies all looking at weight loss, but each with a different focus and approach , have suggested similar findings.  Time you eat food has a major impact on weight loss success.

So, what’s the best time to eat food when you’re trying to lose weight?  There are no exact times to share , as these would likely differ by individual , but there are some general recommendations for the timing of meals.

Here’s what research suggests is most effective for weight loss, starting with dinner and working back on a slightly more controversial meal, breakfast.


The overall consensus among health professionals and researchers is that its best to have dinner early  (  at least two to three hours before bedtime )  and then close the kitchen for the night.

This prevents late-night snacking and allows the body to burn a few calories before bedtime.  It also gives the body time to digest, that will allow for more restful sleep later.

When you go to bed on a full stomach, you are less likely to have adequate, good quality sleep that triggers hormonal changes that can deter weight loss.


There are two other reasons for dinning early, though they’re not as obvious.

First  new research suggests that our circadian rhythms allow the body to burn calories more efficiently, control blood glucose, and optimize digestion earlier in the day. This means that eating dinner at  5 pm ,  as opposed to 8 pm could potentially have an impact on weight loss by aligning closer to the body’s internal clock.

Second , early dinner increases the time we run out of food, which increases fat-burning and improves regulation of hormones that affect appetite, cravings and blood sugar.


The timing of lunch seems to have the least impact on weight loss, but what is remarkable about lunch is that it should be your biggest meal ( along with breakfast if Consumed).

This goes back to those circadian rhythms that drive the body’s increased efficiency earlier in the day when it comes to digesting food, burning calories, and regulating hormones.

And when we remember that food is fuel for our body, it makes sense, from a practical, biological point of view, to get most of your daily calories and nutrients in the early afternoon.


Instead of asking what time to eat breakfast , the mos popular question of late is: should you eat breakfast if you’re trying to lose weight?

Although there is no definitive answer, two things are clear:

First, we are all technically “fast” every night while sleeping, and almost everyone benefits from this fast.  Healthy individuals should aim to spend at least 12 hours between dinner and the next day’s first meal on health benefits, including weight loss.

These two things can also be played out in a number of ways.  For example , you can end your dinner by 7 pm , and then at  7 am  eat breakfast.


If you’re a fan of intermittent fasting, or if you don’t like breakfast , you may end up having dinner by 7 pm and then after 11 am , eat your first meal.  The takeaway is that you can lose weight with both scenarous, being a regular breakfast eater or being an intermittent faster one who skips breakfast.

But there are two keys to this:

First is to make sure you have at least a 12 hour break between dinner and the next meal.

Second –  whether you eat your first meal at 7 am or  11 am to make the first meal substantial and nutrient-dense.


What does all this really mean for weight loss when it comes to scheduling meals?

From a professional point of view , it suggest that there is a lot more to learn about weight loss.

But I also think that tweaking a few meal times and eating habits could have a significant impact on weight-loss pursuits and overall health. So if you’re not sure where to start, here are a couple of ideas to try.

  1. To eat breakfast, but not necessarily in the morning, technically speaking, breakfast means when you break your fast from the previous day, and there is no specific time that should occur as explained above in the breakfast discussion.  What  is important is that when you break your fast, you fuel your body with nutrient-rich foods for the day.
  2. Prioritize eating in the first half of the day, aim to consume most of your calories and nutrients by mid-afternoon. Also remember that there is no right or wrong way to do this.  This may mean eating breakfast, lunch and two snacks for one person.  For another it might mean eating a big brunch meal and a snack.
  3. Make breakfast early and light, you might even consider eating as early as 4 or 5 pm, its ideal.  If this is not possible , try a meal at least three or more hours before bedtime.
  4. Go 12 hours between dinner and your next meal to reap the benefits of weight loss, fat burning , metabolism and appetite and cravings management.

An easy way to do this is to push dinner a little earlier or skip late-night snacks. Healthy individuals may consider going longer upto 16 hours to reap even greater benefits from fat-burning.

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