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Fighting Fit Lifestyle Centre > Nutrition Advice  > Do Meal Times Really Matter?

Do Meal Times Really Matter?

There are so many myths surrounding nutrient timing, in this article we are going to look to bust some of those myths including the idea that there is one specific eating schedule that EVERYONE should follow.

Myth 1: Skipping Breakfast is Best For Fat Loss.

For as long as people have been saying breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the anti-breakfast camp have been saying the exact opposite. Many try this dieting method as a way to “save calories”, citing research that suggest skipping breakfast can support weight loss or other health goals. Some of this research has reported benefits of increased fat breakdown, increased production of growth hormone and improved blood glucose to name a few. The reason we are busting this myth is that no firm “rule” has been proven. Most of the research mentioned has been done on animals, with only a few conclusive human studies. Furthermore, these studies only show the short-term changes in physiology and don’t guarantee long-term benefits. These immediate changes can be often be deceiving as the body, seeking homeostasis, often corrects them. Therefore, short-term effects from nutrient timing protocols don’t always translate to long-term changes.

 

Myth 2: Breakfast is The Most Important Meal of The Day

We just busted the myth of skipping breakfast, now lets bust the age old “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” that we have heard for decades. No doubt you have heard a lot of research that supports eating breakfast, its true, many studies associate breakfast with a vast range of benefits including appetite suppression, decreased body weight, improved academic performance and better blood sugar control. So its no wonder why we have been told not to skip breakfast! But what you don’t know about these studies is that most of the evidence is observational, they suggest there is a correlation but do not prove a cause. Simply put, there may be a relationship between people who eat breakfast in the morning and do well in school, but it doesn’t mean they do well in school purely because they ate breakfast. Some studies have accounted for this fact and have evaluated cause and effect, however in these studies the results are mixed. So in all the bother about breakfast, here’s the actual truth: Eating breakfast is a good thing, sometimes, for some people (especially malnourished children or the elderly). But not for everyone.

 

Myth 3 # Eat Light at Night

For years, most nutrition experts told people to eat their calories and carbs at breakfast and to keep calories, especially carbs – lower at night. Then, nutrition experts began recommending the opposite, telling us to eat the majority of our calories and carbohydrates in one feast of a meal come dinner time. This is idea is associated with something we call carb back-loading. So who is right? Well I am just going to bust both of these myths right now, because neither are right, not exactly. Some studies found breakfast to be the best time for big meals, some has found no differences in weight loss between big breakfasts and big dinners, and other research has found significant benefits from eating more at night. So what can we take from this mash up of findings? Its quite simple really, we are all unique! There is no one size fits all rule. Unless you’re an elite athlete and every bite you take is measured by a coach, you don’t have to let the ‘experts’ tell you when to eat. Track and measure your results and follow what works for you. If that means an early start time to eggs sunny side up then go for it! If a nice big meal for dinner is more your thing, enjoy drifting off to sleep with a warm fuzzy feeling of a full belly. Consistency is what counts, just like with your exercise you must find what works for you and stick to it!

In conclusion, timing your nutrients can help but only if you have the other more important aspects of your eating in order first. Even then, there are no hard and fast rules. You really need to ask yourself: How are your eating patterns working for you? Then you can make the adjustments that help you feel good achieve your goals and overall, live better.

So put the “rules” and myths aside and eat when it works for you.