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When should you eat to manage your weight?

The balance between weight gain and weight loss is predominantly determined by what you eat, how much you eat, and by how much exercise you get. But another important factor is often neglected…

Research shows that it’s not just how many calories you eat, but WHEN you eat them that will determine how well you burn those calories.

Your daily biological clock and sleep regulate how the food you eat is metabolised; thus the choice of burning fats or carbohydrates changes depending on the time of day or night.

Your body's circadian rhythm has programmed your body to burn fat when you sleep, so when you skip breakfast and then snack at night you delay burning the fat. 

The researchers monitored the metabolism of mid-aged and older subjects in a whole-room respiratory chamber over two separate 56-hour sessions, using a “random crossover” experimental design.

In each session, lunch and dinner were presented at the same times (12:30 and 17:45, respectively), but the timing of the third meal differed between the two halves of the study.

Thus in one of the 56-hour bouts, the additional daily meal was presented as breakfast (8:00) whereas in the other session, a nutritionally equivalent meal was presented to the same subjects as a late-evening snack (22:00). The duration of the overnight fast was the same for both sessions. 

Whereas the two sessions did not differ in the amount or type of food eaten or in the subjects' activity levels, the daily timing of nutrient availability, coupled with clock/sleep control of metabolism, flipped a switch in the subjects’ fat/carbohydrate preference such that the late-evening snack session resulted in less fat burned when compared to the breakfast session.

The timing of meals during the day/night cycle therefore affects the extent to which ingested food is used versus stored. 

This study has important implications for eating habits, suggesting that a daily fast between the evening meal and breakfast will optimise weight management.

Do you skip breakfast? Do you eat late-night snacks?


That works well in an ideal world but many of us take medications which cause weight gain by slowing down our metabolisms just when we need to shed a few kilos ......

Not when you eat it is what you eat and how much. I never skip breakfast, bowl of fruit keeps me going and gives me heaps of quick energy to get me going.

There is a fair bit of good science to show that when you eat DOES make a difference. What is it that makes you so determined to try to convince us that you have all the right answers?


I am not trying to convince anyone of anything, just voicing my opinion, if you do not agree,just ignore. It is not point eating a heap of fattening foods at a certain time of the day, it will still make you fat. A lot of this so called "good science" are small trials and everyone is different, I think it is more important to work out what is right for you (each person).

He does not have any answers, let alone the "right"ones !!!!!


Last year when I wanted to get some weight off during winter, I cut out all potato any form of potato!

I was still eating plenty of vegs, but have to watch the banana intake due to the release of histamines.

Drank mainly water!   One cup of tea in the morning, but because it was winter I boiled up the kettle and drank

hot water and a spoon of sugar. 

Stopped baking cakes and stopped buying sweet biscuits.

It is amazing how much weight I got off.

I was doing the gardening too, but not nearly as much exercise as I used to due to a back issue.

Yes Maggie medications DO make a big difference, but I countered that with drinking more water.

I never drink alcohol. Have an allergy to it.


Have you heard of the potato diet? I do not think cutting out nutritious pototoes is what helps lose weight, I would say it is the cake and biscuits. Consuming fats with sugar is what puts on weight more than anything else. I also don't understand why you cannot eat banana's a high source of potassium. 

Well done you for putting your good sense and willpower to work and losing weight. Those of us who struggle with weight know how hard that can be

How I wish drinking lots of water could stop my meds from behaving the way they do . Checked with my doc and was told I  wasn't that lucky!

Potatoes are a high starch food which is converted to sugar in your body.  Sugar makes you fat . . . Sure potatoes are nutritious because they contain vitamins and minerals too, but it doesn't  do you any harm to cut them out. 

Musicveg's self confessed ignorance about histamines is probably because she is unaware that there is such a thing as histamine intolerance.




Maggie, I was saying that I did not understand why she could not eat banana's because of histamines because I do not believe that banana's can cause problems and think it must be something else. If you know so much please explain. Yes potatoes are nutritious, and sugar from potatoes making you fat is not correct, same with fruit. In fact high carbs (as long as they are wholefoods and not processed white junk) are good for you and will give you energy and will not make you fat. It is usually what people put with potatoes that make them fat. Fat makes you fat,high protein (which is high in fat) and processed white sugar make you fat and also just eating too many calories. Eat more low calorie foods and less high calorie is a good start. All natural sugars are converted to glucose which then gives you energy. Even honey will not make you fat. Many people have lost lots of weight and got healthier by eating less animal products and more wholefood plants (not processed meat substitutes). Check out for some stories.



Years ago I went on an elimination diet because of an allergy. Turned out to be a pointless exercise but that's another story. Anyway, I was allowed to eat pears, potatoes, meat, garlic, raw cashews, margarine, olive oil, possibly a few other things that I can't remember, and gin and tonic. Everyday I ate a whole large packet of potato chips to make myself feel better because I was going crazy on that diet. The weight fell off me in spite of my daily chip binges...think I lost about 7 or 8 kilos in 6 weeks. Probably no sugars, except in the pears, is what enabled that weight loss. 

Could have been the pears helping you lose weight Ny19, they tend to clean you out if you have quite a few. Maybe your calorie intake was a lot lower too.


Lol musicveg, I think I got lots of calories with all those chips. Also, I overdid the daily allowance of cashews...just couldn't help myself gutsing on the things I liked in the diet to compensate myself for being so restricted. I ended up hating pears! My point was though that I ate a lot of potatoes and still lost heaps of weight.


They have William Bartlet pears on sale currently and they are yummy

... my favourites.

Incognito so you don't understand why some people have to watch how many bananas they eat!


Not all fruit and nuts are good for everyone!

In view of this research cannot help but wonder how much affect daylight saving has on the situation.

Brits are told to lose weight to be ready to fight coronavirus as big bellies make breathing more difficult 

Britons have been told to get fit after figures showed how coronavirus is more fatal for the obese and unhealthy. Statistics reveal 38 per cent of people who have been admitted to intensive care are obese.