Does WHEN You Eat Matter?

I've heard mainly two different opinions on this, and I've become really confused as to which is more truthful. But I've heard both:

1. Stop eating well before bed, to give your metabolism a chance to process the food, because once you sleep, your body isn't processing the food as well and more gets stored as fat (or something along these lines, to be honest I don't know exactly what it is that happens). Also, eating breakfast in the morning is essential to jump-start your metabolism early.

2. It doesn't matter when you eat, just what you eat. Timing is irrelevant.

A couple days ago, I decided to try and stop eating by 8:30, and I'm wondering if this really has any effect. If anything, for me I think it will because I tend to eat a lot at night when everyone else has gone to bed, but scientifically does it really do anything?


  • diannethegeek
    diannethegeek Posts: 14,776 Member
    Some people find that eating late causes indigestion or sleep problems. If you aren't one of those people and have calories left for the day, then it doesn't matter how late you eat.

    Some people find that breakfast increases their focus and concentration in the mornings and decreases their hunger for the day. If you aren't one of those people and skipping breakfast doesn't cause you to consume more calories later in the day, then it doesn't matter when your first meal is.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,693 Member
    old granny doesn't matter.

    My TDEE is roughly 2800 calories...that means to maintain my weight I need 2800 calories...if I burn 2800 calories in a 24 hour period, why would it matter when I ate those calories? By the by, I eat dinner every night around 8:30 and go to bed at 9:30...the vast majority of my caloric intake happens from about 5:00 until bedtime...I lost 40 Lbs doing so and am maintaining the last 9 months doing the same. It doesn't matter.
  • musicgal86
    musicgal86 Posts: 338 Member
    I have always wondered the same thing!
  • steve_mfp
    steve_mfp Posts: 170 Member
    It takes 24-72 for food to travel in to out. Absorption will happen in the middle. Depending on the food will depend how long it takes to break down and be available. Your body will adapt to your life-style of when you put the fuel in the tank. Now there probably ideal times that make the body more efficient at having the energy when you need it, having the protein for repair etc.

    I'd be less concerned about the metabolic response and more concerned if i had the macros i needed when my body needed them. Carbs get broken down and stored in the body for energy so the one i'd be mainly concerned about is protein. Since the majority of muscle recovery/growth is at night I try to ensure that i have a sizable amount near bed time. So i purposely eat a large meal before bed with a high protein amount, normally egg-white omelets.

    Here is a good article on it.
  • tyrsnbdr
    tyrsnbdr Posts: 234 Member
    Lots of broscience on this. There is no reason why eating right before bed is bad for you. The Oprah, don't eat carbs after 6:30 is pure broscience, or BS for short. She was trying to get people to inadvertingly reduce calorie intack with out telling them to count calories.

    Conversly, the "if you don't wake up at night to eat or you will go into anabolic shock" is BS too.
  • GiveMeCoffee
    GiveMeCoffee Posts: 3,556 Member
    Doesn't matter! I eat 1-2 meals a day, followed by my dessert that I eat in bed and will fall asleep shortly after. Meal timing is all your preference find what works for you.
  • Hadabetter
    Hadabetter Posts: 941 Member
    It matters, but just how much can be debated. If you really struggle to get enough protein, eating it throughout the day vs in one big meal, is better. Regarding calories, it's also better to not have one giant meal per day, so you avoid going into what is effectively a daily period of bulking.

    If you are interested in more detail, the following link will take you to my response to a similar inquiry.
  • butterflylover527
    butterflylover527 Posts: 940 Member
    I'm a believer of the "It doesn't matter when you eat, just what you eat. Timing is irrelevant." lol. But a lot of people will stop eating at a certain time just so they don't eat more calories.