I’ve always been a big believer that the timing of when you eat has a colossal effect on long term weight loss potential, despite all the ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ enthusiasts out there whom preach that 2000 calories is 2000 calories regardless of the timing of when you eat and how daily calories are distributed throughout one’s day.
Whilst this is definitely true, what is often not considered is the effects on hormones, blood sugar levels, core body temperature and immune system activity and how they are influenced differently based on WHEN you feed your body, suggesting that there is in fact ‘better’ or ‘worse’ times to consume certain foods over a 24-hr period. (AKA: your circadian rhythm)
After flicking through a few articles and papers, it was a 2013 paper by Daniela Jakubowicz (which I found thanks to a #GregKnuckles article) to compliment my thoughts best. In this study, the researchers compared the impacts of two diets, matched for calories and macronutrients, but that differed in the distribution of that intake. Both groups dieted on 1400 cal per day, eating 3 meals per day, with each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) being eaten at about the same time (within a 3-hour window) for all individuals. As for the distribution, participants were either assigned to what was referred to as ‘breakfast-heavy’ or “dinner-heavy” distribution. The break down:
👉🏽 1. Breakfast-heavy: 700 cal breakfast, 500 cal lunch, 200 cal dinner
👉🏽 2. Dinner-heavy: 200 cal breakfast, 500 cal lunch, 700 cal dinner
In these calorie/macro matched conditions, a breakfast-heavy distribution led to significantly greater weight loss (8.7 vs 3.6 kg) than a dinner-heavy distribution. Now not to say these results are SOLEY due to calorie timing distribution, however the study does tell us that there is SOMETHING going on when the timing / distribution of intake is changed.
The best advice I can give you on this is to position (specifically) your carbohydrate intake to surround breakfast and training times and on non-training days (or if you don’t train at all) then consume majority of your daily calories (have your bigger meals) at breakfast and lunch, keeping dinner light. This will ensure carbohydrates are being utilised as energy for your day and to fuel muscles (prior) and feed muscles (post) before being converted and stored in the body as adipose tissue (fat) if the energy is not required.
For the average guy or girl who works a sedentary job and trains merely for general health and wellbeing, here is a good way to think about your daily intake: Eat breakfast like a king/queen. Lunch like a prince/princess and dinner like a pauper!
I hope this helps someone out there. Feel free to tag and/or share this post with someone.
PS: Just ask me if you’d like the reference sited to do some further research yourself if you’re interested and I’ll happily send over a link.
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