New study provides further evidence that your most important meal is NOT breakfast
I often advocate eating your carbs in the evening both for health, sleep and weight management reasons. The science on this is quite clear, and the “don’t eat carbs for dinner” myth has been busted multiple times. Another myth that’s been busted is that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Once again, there is no science or practical evidence supporting this concept (breakfast skippers don’t gain weight, as many people falsely believe).
A study released recently looked into the relationship between your circadian rhythm (natural sleeping pattern) and appetite. This study supports the argument that someone with a normal sleeping pattern will “naturally” be the hungriest and eat the biggest meal between 3pm and 9pm, which prepares the body for the “fasting” period which starts from 9pm until your next meal 12 or more hours later.
My general rules are:
- Eat when hungry, you don’t “have to” eat breakfast.
- Eating carbs at dinner ensures that you (i) use them to replenish glycogen in your muscles, not convert them to fat, and (ii) lower cortisol and increase melatonin (sleep hormone) so you can sleep through the night.
- If you feel that you’re “crashing” if you don’t eat every 2-3 hours, that’s an indication of metabolic inefficiency (body not being to burn fat), and therefore your diet needs an overhaul.
I've written extensively about carbs in the past, including:
Should you avoid artificial sweeteners to lose weight?
I'll keep this one short and sweet (see what I did there? "sweet"! get it? get it???).
So you all know that I'm NOT a fan of artificial sweeteners. While the scientific evidence is not yet fully conclusive, there is plenty of evidence out there supporting the theory that artificial sweeteners not only do NOT help in weightloss, but may also promote weight GAIN, alongside a numerous number of health hazards.
One way they may hinder weight loss is by increasing your "desire" to eat or drink sugary things. When you consume artificial sweeteners, you send your message to your body that something "sugary" is coming. Except that it doesn't actually come. So an hour or so later, you crave sugar, and it happens over and over again, until you DO eat or drink sugar.
Another way it may promote weight gain is by disrupting your intestinal microbiota: they are the trillions of bacteria living in your digestive system, and which support your immune system as well as metabolism (that's why people take probiotics).
However, studies have shown that artificial sweeteners disrupt that balance, causing a "mess" down there, and leading to the proliferation of "bad" bacteria in your digestive system, which leads to digestive problems, immune system problems, and weight gain.
This study recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine hammers yet another nail in the coffin by concluding that "
both artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juice were unlikely to be healthy alternatives to sugar sweetened beverages for the prevention of type 2 diabetes".
This is important because in its latest report, the WHO describes the global diabetes pandemic as a "relentless march". The numbers are scary: the number of diabetics has QUADRUPLED from 1980 to 2014, reaching over 400 million! High blood sugar TRIPLES the risk of heart attack!
So what's causing this? No one really knows. Yes, junk food should take the lead part of the blame, but in my (and many others') opinion, the radical shift happened when the US govt introduced the infamous "food pyramid", pushing people to move away from the "ancient" way of eating, and pushing them towards making 60% + of their diet from carbs. In case you didn't know it, grains and wheat wreck havoc on your insulin and blood sugar levels.
Exercising is the THIRD most important thing to do for weight loss
One of my favourite expressions and which often raises eyebrows is: "weightloss is 70% nutrition, 20% stress management/sleep, and 10% exercise".
This is obviously contradictory to what most personal trainers say, and that's the reason you see people killing themselves in the gym trying to lose weight.
Based on self-experimentation, experimentation with others, and the volumes of sports medicine research I've consumed, I've been thoroughly convinced that focusing mainly on exercise will NOT get you your desired body.
A new metastudy published just recently confirmed this: 4021 participants in the study, split into: Exercise+Diet, Exercise only, and "nothing/control" group.
They measured primarily the impact on blood sugar levels (which is obviously key to weight loss as well as diabetes).
There was "no statistically significant difference" between the "nothing" group and the "exercise only" group. In other words, the "exercise only" group saw the same improvement (or none) when compared to people who did "nothing".
In fact, the only group that showed significant improvement was the Exercise+diet group.
So please, focus on cleaning up your diet first, get sufficient sleep, and then exercise.
I wrote a 3-part series on weight loss a while back.
Any questions / comments, hit reply or comment below.