Why it doesn’t actually matter when you eat

We bust some food myths and find out why it doesn’t matter when you eat.

Woman's hands buttering toast over breakfast plate

Does eating breakfast make you healthier? Does eating at night mean you’ll put on weight? These are questions we’ve heard before but new research suggests that what we think we know about the best and worst times to eat may be wrong. Today we bust some food myths and find out why it doesn’t matter when you eat.

Myth #1: Breakfast is the most important meal
The benefits of eating breakfast are many and difficult to disagree with. Importantly, a nutritious morning meal can give your body and brain fuel to begin your day. The notion that breakfast kick-starts your metabolism has fallen from favour. The myths begin when we talk about non-breakfast eaters as being more likely to gain weight due to a slow metabolism and making unhealthy food choices later in the day due to low blood-sugar levels. For years, the message was that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Now, studies like this one from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition say that most research that linked breakfast and weight gain are biased, with many funded by cereal companies. The truth is, if you’ve managed to get by all this time without eating breakfast, there’s no real need to begin. What matters is that your first meal of the day is healthy, including carbs, healthy fats and a little protein. If you’re tired of cereal, why not check out these tasty breakfast ideas?

Myth #2: Eating at night causes weight gain
It wouldn’t be unfair to attribute this very pervasive eating myth to Oprah Winfrey, who once famously said that she doesn’t eat after 7.30pm to avoid weight gain. The reality is there’s no magical time on the clock that suddenly makes the food passing into your mouth more likely turn into fat on your hips. Weight gain happens when you consume more energy than your body burns. In other words, if you eat more food than you need that day, your body will store the excess energy as fat. How many kilojoules (a measure of energy) you require each day depends on a range of factors, including your age, weight, height, gender and lifestyle. There are many resources online that can help you work out how many calories you should consume. Unless you have digestive issues, when you eat should not affect your weight as long as you don’t overeat and you maintain an active lifestyle.

Myth #3: Snacking helps avoid weight gain
We’re often told that it’s important to eat three square meals per day with snacks in between. In a world where everyone’s body processes food in the same way, perhaps that would be true. In fact, we all have different nutritional needs. Snacking has been said to keep the metabolism working and prevent the body from storing energy too quickly. However, according to this study in The British Journal of Nutrition, your body will break down energy just the same, whether you’ve eaten in three spaced-out portions or smaller, more frequent snacks. As for what time you eat, it’s simply about energy in versus energy out. That said, some people do function better eating smaller meals punctuated by snacks during the day. Snacks can have the benefit of helping a person avoid binge-eating and preventing blood-sugar levels from crashing (leading to unhealthy food choices). The best method is to pay attention to your own body’s needs, which can change week-to-week and month-to-month. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and drink enough water.

Do you have any other food myths you’d like busted? Let us know in the comments below.



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    25th Nov 2016
    Seeing that no one else is Interested ??
    Without a word of a Lie, I only eat Once a day now ! At Tea Time :-(
    Unless a friend drops in at lunch time, and even then they usually bring something with them, for us both !! :-) :-)
    25th Nov 2016
    :-( Oldies on Pension are probably too Weak and Frail now to write !!
    :-( :-(
    25th Nov 2016
    Some people spend more time on their computers than others.
    Soime are not interested in all the topics.
    Some do voluntary work and are tired when they get home and need the rest, possibly a nap.
    I eat 3 meals a day and soemtimes snack in between. I drink a lot of water and a occasional soft drink - not diet ones - colas have aspartane which has been proved can cause Cancer on the kidneys.
    I personally know of one lady who had one kidney removed. She drank part of a can or baby size bottle just about every day. I a friend of hers is diabetic and drinking reasonably large quantities every day.
    She also suffered the same fate and had to have a kidney removed. The oncologist calls it "black death". Diet drinks usually contain artificial sweeteners which can cause other medical issues
    25th Nov 2016

    Is this from choice or is it not???

    I am rather upset about the thought that you are not getting enough to eat, if it is not a voluntary thing!

    What is wrong with this country when so much of its HUGE WEALTH is streamed to the wealthy and so little to those who contribute a lot to this country.... hard working Australians.

    Wish I could shout you a meal...... I know......maybe if you contact YourLifeChoices with your nearest cafe/eating place and let them know that this info is to be forwarded to me, they could let me know which cafe and I could send that cafe $20 for you to get a feed, aye! That way you keep your anonymity and privacy but we can get something done to fatten you up a bit.

    I am serious BUT if I am being an idiot and everything is just fine... that's okay too, a laugh (even at myself) is better than not helping those around you.

    From your posts, you seem a caring and good person.
    25th Nov 2016
    (2) Yes 2...
    Thanks for your Concern :-) I never ask anyone for Anything :-) I've been doing that for quiet some time now ! I only eat when I'm Hungry :-( All the people around here that I cared for have gone now or "Departed" :-( All that's left is Feral's, that make life here a Misery:-( :-( I cant vamoose as Private rent is Abominable !!)
    Between the Police,Ambulances, and Debt Collector for the Unwashed, I can hardly find the Car Park ?? And when I do its a toss up whether my car has been Damaged or even if there is any Petrol left in it ?? by the Milky Bar Kids !! ...
    This is the second time I've written this letter as Telstra decided to have a Blackout half way through it :-( :-( :-( Which was the last Straw for me :-( :-( it happens too often. I got on to them and told them to Stick It as from end of this billing Period 18/11/2016 !! Ill give myself a Pay rise seeing we cant get one from Scrooge :-( :-( $135 a Month Extra will help tremendously and maybe Ill have 2 Meals a day then :-) :-) Ill get a cheapy Mobile Phone and that will do me :-) Thanks Again.. Parti :-) :-)
    25th Nov 2016
    PS... 18/12/2016 that was !! :-)
    The pom
    25th Nov 2016
    While I agree that eating late at night is not by itself a cause of weight gain but the amount and type of food one may consume late will have a definite affect on weight gain
    25th Nov 2016
    Particolor, I have been busy babysitting my granddaughter all day & have just logged on. I don't eat breakfast anymore because it stimulates my appetite and I end up snacking all day and having larger meals. I feel much better, I'm full of energy & think more clearly if I only eat one nutritious, balanced, decent sized meal at night, including dessert. Sometimes I have an apple and/or a poached egg at lunch time if I am feeling hungry. After years of 3 meals plus snacks, watching what I eat, counting calories and putting weight on and off, I have finally found a way to lose the stubborn extra 5 kilos and keep it off. I really look forward to dinner, enjoy my food a lot more & don't have to count calories because eating this way naturally keeps the calories down anyway. Exercising while in the fasted state has helped with my weight loss and I have more energy to exercise. If I eat breakfast and lunch I find I am sluggish all day and don't feel like exercising. I worked all this out for myself by trial and error & experimenting with the 5:2 diet. I loved fast days but not the normal eating days & didn't like chopping and changing each day. I wondered if what I was doing was wrong, despite feeling great, but then I found heaps of information on line about intermittent fasting and eating only one meal a day. A lot of intermittent fasting researchers have adopted the one meal a day or regular fasting because of the health benefits they discovered during their research and a lot of body builders and personal trainers do the same.
    25th Nov 2016
    I cant really tell you when this started with me ?? I just have a Decent Tea and I'm happy !!:-) :-) + about 8 Squares of Chocolate of coarse :-) :-) Hasn't affected my health, I'm still the same weight and haven't got Dementia YET !! :-) :-)
    I sometimes just sneak a Tuna Sandwich at Lunch Time :-) :-)
    I drink ONLY Tea and bugger the water here its Disgusting :-( :-(
    Thanks :-) :-)

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