Ask the Nutritionist

Last Meal

Ask the Nutritionist

Posted by Dahlia on 2 years ago

We have finished reboot and now are on an eating plan for continued weigh loss. How many hours prior to bed is ideal for eating our dinner for maximum weight loss? Would a snack such as a banana affect weight loss negatively if it is consumed too close to bed time assuming that we have no issues with acid reflux? Literature about weight loss and fasting suggests that we should not eat for 12 hours from dinner to breakfast for maximum weight loss. Is this a valid premise? What about not having breakfast until we are hungry, even if it is over 12 hours since the last meal? Is this recommended, or are we to have breakfast even if we are not hungry.

Or is it just calories in must exceed calories out for continued weight loss?

This topic contains 6 replies, has 1 voices, and was last updated by Zootal 2 years ago.

Replies To Last Meal

  • Matilda

    2 years ago

    Hi. First off, I'm not a Nutritionist or R.D. so this advice is purely from experience and my own research.

    I can't comment on the timing of your evening meal, because I really don't know the answer.

    However, I firmly believe that you should spread out your meals and snacks as evenly as possible. Don't let your body get "hungry", or think that there's no food coming for a long time. When your body thinks there's a famine, it will hold onto the fat stores as long as it can. If food is provided regularly, even in small quantities, your body gets used to the routine, and knows that some nutrition will be coming soon, so there's no need to hoard the fat cells. So, definitely have something for breakfast, within no more than one hour after you wake up.

    As far as calories in vs. calories out, this used to be the rule. If you burn more than what you take in, you will lose weight. HOWEVER, this rule seems to NOT hold true if you are consuming processed food, starchy food, and/or sugar. When you consume sugar (even in natural states such as fruit), you trigger your body to convert the sugar to fat, even if your total calorie intake is relatively low. Sugar also changes your body's metabolism, so you're not burning as many calories per day. So, it's not just calorie count, it really matters WHAT you eat. CUT OUT THE SUGAR!

    Watch the video called "Fed Up", narrated by Katie Couric. It helps explain why people can't lose weight, even if they think they are changing their eating habits or eating "low fat" foods. If there is sugar in the food, you will likely gain weight, or at least not lose any fat. Also remember that carbohydrate=sugar.

    I was eating 1/3 of the portions of my husband, but I was still unable to lose weight. Not until I started juicing, and eating healthy natural food, was I able to get rid of the weight. I'm still losing. I avoid all food that has added sugar. I limit my fruit and starchy veggies. I avoid all wheat products, and limit starches and grains. Avoid milk and dairy. I eat lots of low-glycemic veggies, meats and fish in their natural state. I drink at least 2 litres of water per day, usually more. I get lots of exercise, and push myself each day to do a bit more than the day before. It has to be a life-long change, not just a short-term "diet". Hard work, yes, but it's paying off.

  • Dahlia

    2 years ago

    Thank you for your response Matilda. It does not address any of the questions asked.

    Perhaps, my post was not clear. To clarify, our eating plans are under control; we are off reboot. What we want is information about fasting as there are books and sites proposing fasts of 12 and 16 hours, with consumption of three well balanced whole food meals during the remaining hours, as the way to maintain weight loss and/or for continued weight loss.

    It seems counterintuitive to eat when one is not hungry, thus the question about eating breakfast when not hungry. For that matter, some are disagreeing with snacking between meals.

    Of course, all refer to studies, which are either unavailable or expensive to access. My first year stats textbook had a quote 'Numbers don't lie, but liars sure can figure', thus my questions to the nutritionist.

  • Claire Georgiou - ND

    2 years ago

    Dear Dahlia,

    Ideally fasting for 12hours has been shown to be helpful for weight control, blood sugar regulation and diabetes.

    Eating breakfast is important if you are a person who tends to get very hungry later on as skipping breakfast can increase the risk of making poor choices later in the day, but if your not hungry and you will eat a healthy balanced diet during your eating hours then this can work well.

    Choices such as these fasting recommendations have to fit in and support you in a positive way. Eating breakfast has been shown to support a healthier weight in studies. I think the most important point is not to eat too late in the evening and try and aim for 3-4 hours after eating before going to bed. Light snacking for many can be helpful, I do suggest 12hours between dinner and breakfast as a general recommendation but this does not suit everyone. I hope this is helpful

  • Dahlia

    2 years ago

    Thank you, Claire. In other words, it all depends on our health situation. What works for goose, does not work for gander.

  • Danmcn61

    2 years ago

    I saw a documentary about sumo wrestlers in Japan. They make a habit of eating a rather huge meal of rice & fish in the late afternoon followed by a long nap. Implied in that story is that if you want to pack on weight and look like a sumo wrestler, then eat a lot of carbohydrates just before you go to sleep. If you don't want to look like a sumo wrestler, then do the opposite and go to bed hungry.

    Not scientific, but I think it is common sense. Feel free to make your own decisions.

  • Zootal

    2 years ago

    I came across a study (don't remember where...) that showed that the time of day that we eat did not play as great a role in our weight as was previously suspected. The old wisdom is to not eat too soon before bed - you know, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. The study indicated that calories in vs calories out played a much bigger role in weight loss than the time of day we consume the calories. I may be wrong, but I seem to recall anectdotal evidence that eating at night actually led to marginally increased weight loss because of the calories we burn turning excess food to fat, and then metabolizing it the next day. I don't think I would use this as an excuse to stuff ourselves before going to bed :)

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