Timing of Meals and Weight Gain
Whilst what we eat and how much we eat are both well known to affect weight a new study suggests that when we eat also has an impact.
Information from over 50 000 participants in the Adventist Health Study found that there were 4 factors associated with a decrease in body mass index (1). These were:
- Eating only 1 or 2 meals a day.
- Maintaining an overnight fast for up to 18 hours.
- Eating breakfast.
- Making breakfast or lunch the largest meal of the day.
There were 2 factors associated with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). These were:
- Eating more than 3 meals a day. Snacks are counted as extra meals.
- Making the evening meal the largest meal of the day.
Interestingly, this modern reseach confirms an ancient nutritional maxim: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and eat dinner like a pauper. Over a lifetime, following this maxim can have a huge impact on body weight and overall health. That said, even if you are some way through your life, it is never too late to start.
Here’s a 1 day meal plan including a breakfast fit for a king, a lunch of princely proportions and a more humble supper.
Chia muesli bowl with coconut yoghurt
In a large bowl combine chia seeds, oat flakes, almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and goji berries with coconut yoghurt and almond milk. Cover and leave over night. In the morning add blueberries, grated apple or other fruits.
It is fine to eat this after just 20 minutes of soaking but a longer soak makes it more digestible.
Blend together an avocado, a spoonful of almond butter, a spoonful of cacao powder, coconut milk and a cupful of berries.
Quinoa, Lentil and Roast Vegetable Salad
Combine cooked quinoa with a drained can of puy lentils, roasted aubergines and courgettes and toasted almonds. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and peper.
Or for a higher protein lunch:
Spinach and Mushroom Frittata
Heat some coconut oil in a frying pan and add chopped garlic and mushrooms. Cook for 10 minutes before adding some chopped spinach. Cook for a couple more minutes before adding beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook until the underside is set then put under a medium hot grill to cook the top. Serve with a large green salad.
Vegetable Soup and Salad
Use any vegetables for the soup and serve with mixed salad leaves, chopped tomatoes and cucumber, toasted seeds and an olive oil based dressing.
- Kahleova H, Lloren JI, Mashchak A et al. Meal Frequency and Timing Are Associated with Changes in Body Mass Index in Adventist Health Study 2. The Journal of Nutrition, 2017; jn244749