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Nutrition Column

Timing of intake not as important as amount

All of the studies of the timing of nutrient intake have shown no difference in weight loss or modification in body composition whether subjects ate many small meals, all their calories in the morning, or all the calories in the evening.

The primary factor in weight loss, or gain, is the amount of calories eaten relative to the amount expended - rather then when the calories are eaten.

With that said, if you have eaten your caloric recommendation too early in the day it is better to skip snacking later that evening and hold off until the following day. That will force your body to draw on nutrient stores.

Eating earlier in the day often increases overall energy expenditure - aiding in creating a caloric deficit and weight loss.

People often eat in the evening out of boredom, for emotional nurturing, or hunger from under-eating during the day rather than out of necessity due to increased night time expenditure.

In fact, most people decrease their energy expenditure in the evening and at night rather than the reverse.

For best results, try to eat over half of your caloric intake by mid-day and less as the night approaches. A large breakfast will help re-supply the nutrients used during the overnight fast and help to prepare your body for the day to come.

A good sized lunch will aid in recovery from your morning activities and also prepare you for your afternoon and evening's activities.

A night time snack once in a while wont derail your progress but make sure it isn't a regular occurrence - and if so, save some calories from your daily total so as not to exceed your bodies requirements. Saving calories will assure weight gain, or at worst weight maintenance rather than loss, is not an undesirable but all too often occurrence.

Written by Dr. Sternlicht for on 2.08.06