FAQ

What is the best time for dinner?

Eating for optimal health is not just about what you eat but also when you eat. That’s why it’s worth considering if there’s a perfect time to eat dinner, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or have other health considerations.

Is there a perfect time to have dinner?

Research, such as a small 2016 study, shows that many adults have erratic eating habits. More than half of the 156 people who took part in the study ate for a long period of 15 hours or more during an average day. Some people may have stopped eating at 4 p.m., while others may have relied on snacking for much of the night. So when it comes to knowing when is the perfect time to eat dinner, the answer may depend on your personal health goals or your health condition.

For weight loss

One of the most common approaches to losing weight is to reduce the total number of calories you eat. In this context, the timing of meals can be important in achieving your goals. Some studies suggest that you should eat your last meal before your body begins to release melatonin and prepare for sleep.

Your brain begins to release melatonin at night, in response to the normal light and dark hours of the day. It’s your circadian rhythm, which is closely tied to your metabolism. A 2017 study showed that eating later in the evening, when your brain has started preparing for sleep, is associated with increased body fat. This phenomenon is independent of factors such as the amount or type of food consumed or the level of activity.

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Other studies agree, concluding that eating later can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm. This, in turn, can increase the risk of weight gain and associated health problems. This phenomenon has often been observed in shift workers who have to eat at non-traditional hours.
Additionally, research has shown that eating later in the evening is associated with higher total daily calorie intake.

Fewer calories at dinner than at breakfast

In an older study from 2013, overweight and obese women followed a weight-loss diet for three months. The study found that even though everyone had the same overall daily calorie intake, women who ate the most calories at breakfast lost 2.5 times more weight than those who ate the most at dinner. .

That being said, if you feel hungry between dinner and bedtime, choosing healthy snacks can still support your weight loss goals. To lose weight, it can be very beneficial to choose the time of dinner before sunset, so as not to disturb your circadian rhythm. But don’t forget that healthy snacks can still have their place if you get hungry later.

For Acid Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation.

It is most often caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter and can be exacerbated by stress, certain foods, the composition and timing of meals, and other factors depending on the person. An older study from 2005 concluded that people with GERD should eat their last meal of the day at least 3 hours before bed. This gives your body time to fully digest your last meal, reducing the risk of acid reflux overnight. For example, if you suffer from GERD and normally go to bed around 10 p.m., it is advisable to finish dinner by 7 p.m.

Whatever your health goals, there are a few things to consider when it comes to mealtimes.

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Ultimately, weight management mostly comes down to the total amount of calories you’ve consumed. If you eat more calories than you need, you will end up gaining weight. Additionally, numerous surveys and studies have shown that eating late at night is linked to a higher likelihood of choosing unhealthy foods.

Often fatty and sugary nighttime snacks

Many late-night snacks are highly processed and contain large amounts of added sugar or fat, making them high in calories and low in nutrients. Additionally, late-night snacks are often eaten in front of the television or computer screen, which can lead to ill-considered eating. That’s when you can end up consuming more calories than you want, just because you’re distracted. Eating less healthy foods regularly at night can lead to unwanted weight gain and other health problems, such as disturbed sleep or indigestion

If you’re concerned about these issues, you can practice setting an end time for your last meal of the day, making sure to meet all of your calorie and nutrient needs by that time.

Whether you want to lose weight or prevent acid reflux and other potential health issues, it’s best to dine around sunset time. This will ideally give your body a few hours to digest before bedtime.

Make dinner time work for you

For the average healthy person, it seems best to break the habit of regularly consuming the biggest meal of the day just before lying down for bed. Generally speaking, learning to practice mindfulness with food is the most useful strategy for determining the best time to eat dinner or any meal.

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That implies :

know how to tell when you are really hungry
eat an appropriate portion
being able to stop eating when comfortably full
These are always good tips to keep in mind when it comes to meal timings.

Studies suggest that even if you sometimes have to eat late, the benefits of fueling your mind and body outweigh the potential downsides of skipping the last meal of the day. Keep in mind that choosing nutritious foods remains essential for optimal health, including managing the conditions listed above, in addition to considering meal timing.

Best time for dinner? According to your bedtime

The ideal time for dinner seems to align with your circadian rhythm and give your body time to properly digest the food before you lie down to sleep.
This usually means having dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. This can be especially useful for people who want to:

– losing weight
– prevent overconsumption
– prevent acid reflux at night

That said, if you can’t stick to a regular dinner schedule, it’s usually better to be on your toes and eat a nutritious late-night dinner rather than skipping the last meal of the day altogether.

Sources

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26411343/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26411343/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28877894/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23512957/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6140167/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26626471/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28718396/

* At press health we strive to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice. [HighProtein-Foods.com]

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