When to Eat or Not Eat for Optimum Health

There is a reason why health experts recommend eating our meals at the same time every day, preferably aligned with the movement of the sun — our bodies follow a similar pattern when it comes to metabolism and blood sugar levels. That’s why it is important to know when to eat or not eat to maintain optimum health.

When to Eat or Not Eat

While it is important to watch what we eat, it is even more important to watch what time we eat, because many studies have found that when we provide our body with fuel at the right intervals, it will function as efficiently as possible.

That’s why it is suggested to eat in alignment with the body’s circadian rhythm — the sleep-wake cycle that typically tells our bodies when it is time to sleep and wake up, every day.

This routine is important to maintain healthy digestion and optimum metabolism and any small disruption in the sleep and food patterns can cause various health problems like weight gain and related conditions. Hence, it might be time to reconsider that habit of sneaking into the kitchen for a bowl of ice cream at midnight.

Blood sugar levels and the sun

While we connect most of our weight-related issues to our calorie intake, we should not neglect the time at which we eat each meal. Experts who study the body’s metabolic activity and blood sugar levels believe that it follows the sun’s movements, which means that our ability to control blood sugar and burn calories is at its peak in the morning, helping us stay active until lunch.

The levels start to drop a bit in the afternoon and gradually declines as evening sets in. Experts also believe that lunch might be an important meal, especially in terms of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels for the rest of the day; a balanced lunch can help reduce sugar cravings in the evening. A late lunch can often cause blood sugar levels to drop terribly, leading to a slower metabolism and lethargy.

What is early time-restricted feeding?

Experts who study the link between the body’s rhythm, eating habits and weight gain believe that we should consume foods within an 8 to 10 hour period, starting as early as possible in the morning and ending in the early evening. Currently, research shows that we tend to spread our eating over a period of 15 hours or even longer, with breakfast to get us started, followed by lunch, dinner and numerous snacks right up to the time we sleep.

This tendency to eat late into the night can throw the delicate circadian rhythm off balance and raise the risk of developing health conditions. For instance, researchers asked a group of adults to delay their sleep and wake times for about 10 days and noticed a distinct increase in blood pressure and blood sugar.

There are other clocks in the body too

Apart from the circadian rhythm, it is said that each organ has its own clock and specific cycles to follow, for optimum functioning throughout the day — the pancreas produces more insulin in the morning, the gut controls the production of digestive enzymes and even the genes have an on-off cycle.

When the body has a set pattern, shouldn’t we have one too? To sync our patterns with that of our body’s, it is recommended to eat our heaviest meals in the morning. A delay in the intake of food, especially at night, often forces the body to believe that it is still morning and makes it work harder to try and digest the food at a time when the body is ready to shut down for the day.

Hence, if you are trying to lose weight, start by syncing your eating schedule with your body’s clocks and remember that the time of your first meal is as important as that of the last one, and as long as you follow a set pattern, the body’s rhythm and digestive system should function like clockwork.

The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments. 


O’connor, A. (2018, July 24). When We Eat, or Don’t Eat, May Be Critical for Health. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/24/well/when-we-eat-or-dont-eat-may-be-critical-for-health.html

The Importance of Eating on Time. (2018, March 08). Retrieved from https://dennywaxman.com/the-importance-of-eating-on-time/