Ask the Diet Doctor: Best Time to Eat for Weight Loss
Q: "If trying to lose weight, when should you consume the majority of your calories? Morning, afternoon, or spread evenly throughout the day?” –Apryl Dervay, Facebook.
A: I prefer that you to keep your calorie intake spread evenly throughout the day, while changing the types of foods—namely carbohydrate-based foods—that you’re eating as the day goes on and your activity level changes. Your body’s ability to process carbohydrates (which scientists call insulin sensitivity) decreases as the day goes on. That means you’ll more efficiently metabolize carbohydrates in the morning compared to later at night. And the more efficiently your body can use the food you give it, the easier it is to lose weight.
Exercise is the one x-factor that greatly increases your insulin sensitivity and your body’s ability to use the carbohydrates you eat for fuel and not store them away in fat cells. This is why you should eat a majority of the starchy and grain-based carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, oats, whole grain pasta, quinoa, sprouted grain breads, etc) after your workout and first thing in the morning. During your other meals, vegetables (especially green leafy and fibrous ones), fruits, and legumes should be your main sources of carbohydrates. Round out each healthy meal with a protein source (eggs or egg whites, lean beef, chicken, fish, etc.), and nut, seeds, or oils (olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil).
Eating the majority of your starchy and grain-based carbohydrates in the morning or following exercise also helps control overall calorie and carbohydrate intake, allowing you to lose weight without having to painstakingly count calories. If you find that your weight loss has slowed, try eliminating starchy carbohydrates from breakfast and replacing them with fruits (berry and Greek yogurt parfait) or vegetables (omelet with tomatoes, feta cheese, and greens).
Meet the Diet Doctor: Mike Roussell, PhD
Author, speaker, and nutritional consultant Mike Roussell, PhD is known for transforming complex nutritional concepts into practical eating habits that his clients can use to ensure permanent weight loss and long lasting health. Dr. Roussell holds a bachelor degree in biochemistry from Hobart College and a doctorate in nutrition from Pennsylvania State University. Mike is the founder of Naked Nutrition, LLC, a multimedia nutrition company that provides health and nutrition solutions directly to consumers and industry professionals via DVDs, books, ebooks, audio programs, monthly newsletters, live events, and white papers. To learn more, check out Dr. Roussell's popular diet and nutrition blog, MikeRoussell.com.