From what I understand, breakfast is actually supposed to be the heaviest meal, lunch second, dinner third (of course a couple of snacks too). It doesn't really matter though, at least in my experience (unless you do have diabetes or acid reflux, as has been pointed out). You have to do what works better for you. I, for one, know that if I don't eat something before bed, like oatmeal or a muffin, then I am up in the middle of the night STARVING. I eat when I'm hungry; I do try to plan my meals and go from there but sometimes it doesn't go as planned.
Fitness Minutes: (40,443)
25,730 4/11/13 9:06 P
I don't think it is so much the "WHEN", but rather the "WHY." If you are eating healthy, balanced meals with enough carbs during the day without mindlessly grabbing unhealthy snacks, then it doesn't matter when you eat the calories, but IF you ARE reaching for unhealthy 'go to' snacks or pigging out because you are ravenous, then it would pay to revise what you eat and when, and start the day with healthy choices and enough.
I tend to "graze" at night, so knowing this I save some calories accordingly...........
4/11/13 11:07 A
I usually plan for a larger dinner every day. I grew up eating dinner as the major meal (as I think most people did) with salads and meat and multiple side dishes, and I've found it impossible to break the habit of a large dinner! When I've tried to split my calories more evenly throughout the day, I wouldn't feel satisfied (probably mentally) after dinner. So I decided to go with what I know, and make dinner a larger meal, healthy choices still with controlled portions, and it's been working so far!
I try to stick to 600 calories during the day, split between breakfast, lunch, and usually a snack. Then I eat about a 600-700 calories at dinner. And If I have room to spare in my range, I might have a snack.
Fitness Minutes: (2,976)
349 4/10/13 11:31 P
Hey that's a very interesting point about spreading out carbs...I'm not diabetic or anything but it caught my attention because for the past 2 nights I have eaten spaghetti and then I went 5k tonight after a rest day yesterday. I dunno what I did wrong or if it was just the day or whatever, but OMG I think it was the hardest 5k I've ever done, and I do them at least 3 times a week. I thought I would be all ready to go again today after resting yesterday and having the spaghetti for carbs, but I seriously almost couldn't finish. Maybe eating too big of dinners gave me carb overload or something? Never happened before, but your comment about the carbs got my attention. I too would be interested too hear if the spark coaches have any advice about the "when" you eat calories (or certain types of calories) affecting health and fitness...
Fitness Minutes: (58,728)
4,277 4/10/13 10:08 P
I agree with most of what the other two posters noted.
For me though, I have to add something about "when"! I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic/insulin resistance. Working with a nutritionist, one of my issues which she helped resolve was spreading my carb consumption throughout the day. Some of our bodies just can't efficiently handle a whole lot of carbs at once.... My goal was limited to 30-45 carbs at a meal, and 15 for snacks. And, she didn't want me to go for more than 3 hours without eating. She helped me move from 168lbs down to 140 lbs.. After five years, I've gained some again, hence Spark for some current info, motivation again. After all, besides still being insulin resistant, I'm five years older!! (And pleased to say, back down to 144lbs!)
So yes, "when" can matter for some of us!! I'd encourage you to check with your doctor or nutritionist!! Best of luck!!
I'd love to see some input from the Spark Coaches on this topic....
Edited by: LADYSTARWIND at: 4/10/2013 (22:09)
Fitness Minutes: (94,480)
11,224 4/10/13 9:46 P
This is a truth. Your body processes and metabolizes food the same way, no matter what time it is.
4/10/13 7:41 P
It doesn't matter when. Your body needs whatever-amount-of-calories it needs, and doesn't much care what time they go in :)
The whole push to eat more/earlier and less/later tends to be a result of a few typical situations:
1) "overweight" tends to correlate with "regularly skips breakfast" - a habit that tends to set people up for becoming ravenously hungry and over-eating later in the day. So "good diet advice" tends to include "make sure you fuel yourself at breakfast/throughout the day" - to avoid setting yourself up for overeating later.
2) "late night eating" tends to correlate with "mindless snacking on junk food in front of the tv." Thus, lots of "good diet advice" includes suggestions to try not to eat after a certain hour. Not because eating at a late hour is bad, but, because some of our bad habits tend to happen at that late hour! So putting in a little rule about not-eating-late can help some people become more mindful of their "mindless snacking habits."
3) eating a lot at the end of the day can cause issues for some people with acid reflux when they lay down to go to sleep on a full stomach. Thus, it's often suggested that "for your comfort" you might want to avoid going to bed on a full stomach.
But as far as "will calories i eat at night more easily turn into fat, than calories i eat in the morning"? - in a short answer - No. Eat when it suits you.
Fitness Minutes: (2,976)
349 4/10/13 7:14 P
I can't seem to break this pattern of eating more at dinner than any other meal. It works well with my schedule and I'm hungrier at that time of day anyway, so I'm ok with keeping this but I just wanted to ask others advice on if its healthy or could be hurting my fitness goals? I usually eat about half my daily caloric intake at dinner. I do eat breakfast and lunch and sometimes even a snack but I guess it's just a different combo of foods...my work schedule can be pretty hectic so sometimes I just don't have time to eat that much even if I packed it in advance which I usually do.
So my question is, does it matter WHEN you consume calories or just that you remain within your range and eat a variety of foods daily?
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