This week a Jane Planner emailed us asking whether she’s ‘allowed to eat carbs after 4pm’. Whilst it seems like a slightly unusual question I can only imagine where it’s coming from. The media seems more and more focused on not just what we eat, but when. Some say eating 6 meals a day is better than 3 large ones, others say that dinner should be the smallest meal of the day and breakfast the largest. Sadly there’s a lot of conflicting information about when you should eat, and how many meals you should be having each day, so I thought I’d try to cut through the confusion and answer some common questions about timing your meals.
- Will I lose weight by skipping meals?
It’s so tempting to think that skipping lunch three days a week will cheat your way to reducing your calorie intake, but you shouldn’t skip meals! It might sound contradictory, but skipping meals may actually be connected to abdominal weight gain, because fasting can make your liver insulin resistant. This may mean that your body doesn’t stop producing glucose, and if you aren’t using up this extra glucose as energy, the bad news is it turns into fat, resulting in weight gain.
- How many meals should I have a day?
Eating every 3-4 hours helps to regulate your blood sugar levels and can control sugar cravings and hunger, so you’re less lilely to snack or overeat.
- Is there anything wrong with night-time snacking?
Nutritionists still debate night-time grazing, but it’s best to avoid snacking at night. Food gives you energy and eating just before going to bed can disrupt your sleep and lead to digestion problems.
- When is the latest I should eat?
As a rough guide, I would try to finish eating by 8pm. It you’re fond of having a snack after dinner, be prepared with some healthy snacks that aren’t too high in sugar.
I hope this helps clear up any confusion!
Have a lovely weekend,