We all know the adage “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”. But is there any truth behind this?
Breakfast is the first meal of the day, and it is the meal that the body uses to top up its glucose levels after eight to twelve hours of fasting. Glucose is vital for the brain and it’s the main energy source for the body. As well, it also fuels the muscles that are necessary for physical activity through the day. If you skip breakfast, you will have a shorter attention span, be less alert, take longer to react, have low blood sugar, and decreased productivity.
At lunch time, eat a substantial meal to fuel you for the afternoon but make sure that it isn’t too heavy. Essentially, it should be a medium-sized meal – smaller than breakfast but larger than dinner. If you eat a large meal at dinner, which is traditional in most homes, weight gain can occur as the body cannot use all the energy in the food and thus stores it as fat instead. A heavy meal at dinner can also cause sleep disturbances.
Our body also finds it more difficult to process carbohydrates in the evening. This could be due to reduced insulin sensitivity at night. This is particularly pertinent to the 20% of the workforce who are night shift workers and eat when they are meant to be sleeping.The mismatch of sleep/wake cycles and eating is known as circardian misalignment, which can cause the post-meal levels of sugar and fat in our blood to be abnormaly high. For people who regularly work (and therefore eat) at night, this can lead to persistently high levels of sugar and fat in the blood, and an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
We need the most energy at the beginning of the day, and the least energy at the end, when most daily tasks are over and we are relaxing. Eat according to the needs of your day. If you have an office or other sedentary jobs, eat lighter meals. If your job is more active, eat foods that provide sustained energy. If you are very athletic and train hard, then you will need more nourishment towards the end of the day, to sustain your training needs.
The above explained theory is contradicting with the popular belief that eating several small meals throughout the day is the best metabolism-boosting weight-loss method. According to many health experts “Our body has an inner clock and regulates the levels of different hormones during the day,”. “So, for example, insulin is secreted most efficiently in the morning. Therefore our carbohydrate load should be the largest in the morning,” so eat breakfast as a king.