You may not be aware of it, but meal timing does matter. Planning is the key for a successful change to a healthy eating programme. You will probably plan out how many calories a day you need to hit your target, and how many grams of carbs, proteins and fats you require, but if you don’t plan the best time to eat these things, you’re making it harder on yourself.
What things should you take into consideration when planning the right times to eat?
One of the first things to think about is your overall energy requirement. For instance, if you do a heavy afternoon workout session, it would make no sense to eat your carbohydrates just before bed, as you don’t need the extra energy while you sleep.
Instead, you would want to eat most of your carbs in the hours before your workout session, so your body can use them to fuel your exercise.
You don’t need to starve yourself before bed, but eating large amounts late at night can disrupt your sleep and give you indigestion. Most people will benefit from eating earlier in the day, and less later on. The only exception to this would be people who do late night workouts.
This is pretty important. In order to stick to a diet or healthy eating plan, you need to be able to cope with your natural hunger levels, and work with them. If you are always hungry at a certain time of day, it makes sense to have more of your food at that time, and it will hopefully make sticking to your eating plan easier.
You may not have heard of this, but diurnal insulin sensitivity can have an effect on how your body handles carbohydrates.
It’s been shown that most people have a greater overall insulin sensitivity during the earlier part of the day, and less as the day goes on. The more sensitive your body is to insulin, the better it can deal with carbohydrates. This is another good reason to eat most carbohydrates in the first part of the day, as it is less likely you’ll gain body fat this way.
The more insulin sensitive your body is, the better it becomes at dealing with carbs. Exercise is the other thing that boosts insulin sensitivity, so you can reap a double benefit from those morning workouts.