MOST OF US HAVE PROBABLY DISMISSED THE OLD SAYING: “EAT BREAKFAST LIKE A KING, LUNCH LIKE A PRINCE, AND DINE LIKE A PAUPER” AS AN OLD WIVES’ TALE IN FAVOUR OF THREE SQUARE MEALS A DAY.
But for those watching their weight this may have been to their disadvantage because recent research (Wenk 2012) shows that this is actually sound advice for staying trim after indulging in, well, all those trimmings.
It might seem like a simple approach, but this advice carries an important message: losing weight doesn’t have to be complicated — we just need to eat less, and particularly less at night when we are least active. Most of us eat all day long and only stop when we’re sleeping — and the latest studies have shown that this feeding pattern is unhealthy — proving that there is wisdom in the old saying.
And here comes the science bit (hair swishing is optional): as part of the research one group of mice were given free access to food and another group were only allowed access to their assigned diet for an eight hour window during the early phase of their normal active period. The results showed that the group of mice that had time-restricted access to a high-fat diet were significantly healthier than the mice given all-day access to the same diet. Rodents given total all-day access to a high-fat diet developed obesity, diabetes, and altered sleep-wake rhythms.
January is all about trying to tighten your belt in many ways and if you’re watching your weight after the indulgent festive season then don’t panic: eat early in the day, enjoy a good hearty lunch that will keep you satisfied for longer and aim to avoid those late night snacks.
Why not start the New Year with a new found enthusiasm for lunch time? Recognise the importance of good food during the early part of your day — when you need it the most.
Here’s to some happy and healthy eating in 2013.
Gary Wenk (2012) ‘Eat Early to Stay Healthy and Sleep Better’, Physchology Today, [online],
(accessed 12 December 2012).