Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper—almost every person who is trying to lose weight has heard or read this somewhere. And, it does indeed stem from the truth. Making dinner your lightest meal can go a long way in aiding weight loss. But, it’s not that simple. In this case, there are two things that matter:
- When you eat.
- What you eat.
Body Clock & Weight Loss Depend On
Insulin: Researchers reported in the Cell Press Journal that adjusting the clock through dietary manipulation can help people lose weight. They also found that insulin could be involved in resetting the clock. Insulin helps the stomach’s clock sync with mealtimes, thereby helping the bodies’ entire circadian clock sync with daily sleep-wake cycle.
Eating carbohydrate-rich food like pasta, which promotes insulin secretion, for dinner can shift our biological clock into the sleep stage (which, for someone who is trying to lose weight is bad because the meal does not get enough time to be digested).
Metabolism: People who work night-shifts will have a tougher time losing weight. When the sun goes down, your metabolic rate goes down. Your body’s internal clock is hardwired to sleep and not consume high calorie foods late at night. According to Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, the body is designed to optimally digest when the sun is at its apex in the sky. If you must, reserve your carbs, fats, and sugars for consumption between noon and 1.30pm, because that is your peak metabolic window.
Temperature: Our metabolism is also linked to our body temperature, which is why it makes sense to eat well in the morning and afternoon, keeping the evening meal relatively small. Focus on having a robust breakfast, and a smaller, early dinner (before sundown).
Ideal Dinner For Weight Watchers
It’s dinner time, which means no more than 250 calories for those who are trying to lose weight. That said, make note that just staying in the calorie limit is not enough. What you eat makes a big difference, ie, the way and the rate at which sugars and fats are broken down and digested is very different than protein and fiber. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- Dinner should be about easy-on-the-stomach meals that aid digestion.
- Finish your meal, preferably about four hours before you hit the sack; it will give your body enough time to digest the meal before slipping into rest mode.
- Food choices are very important. Keep your fat-intake to a bare minimum, and should you choose to use binding foods like bread, wheat, flour and the likes at this hour, make sure you compensate with an ultra-healthy prep or low-cal alternates.
- Focus on protein and fiber instead. These two components will keep you feeling full for longer periods, and will minimize your midnight snacking.
- Protein is an important dinner ingredient as it helps rebuild cells, which enables muscle recovery and tissue repair when the body is resting.
- Fiber should make up 8g of dinner, and protein should be around 20-25g. If you stick to these numbers, you are poised for weight loss in terms of dinner prep.
With these things in mind, understand that while breakfast is the most important meal to kick-start your day and keep you energy levels up, dinner plays a more vital role when it comes to building muscles and keeping calories in check by regulating your body’s restorative, reparative and detoxing functions.