The Meal Timing Myths Exposed


The Meal Timing Myths Exposed

In today’s current century, global rates of obesity and other related diseases have increased manifold. All these have been on epidemic proportions and even doctors, health officials and nutritionists are having a tough time in keeping control of these health issues.

A common thing that we often hear is that good health is all about eating less and exercising more. However, do you think it is that simple? Many studies clearly state we as humans have different metabolic responses when it concerns similar food items.

In that case, any guidelines won’t do the magic for all of us. Most importantly, many of the diet recommendations are often based on poor, outdated, or biased science. Unluckily, we are all influenced by deeply ingrained or inherited myths regarding food like breakfast is the most important meal of the day, fat is bad, fish is good, and the list goes on and on. Of course, these would be hard to shake.

Furthermore, the global food industry spends billions of dollars every year on manufacturing and marketing processed foods that some believe are designed to leave us wanting more.

Calories Are All You Need to Think When It Comes to Reducing Weight

An important factor is creating a calorie deficit by burning more amount of energy, but when it comes to weight loss, it is not the only thing that can matter. Just depending solely on calorie intake won’t account for the large number of variables that may prevent someone from losing weight, even when on a very low-calorie diet. Like hormonal imbalances and other health conditions, usage of certain medications etc is some of the main factors that can make weight-loss tough for certain people, especially when they are on a strict diet.

Here this concept even never tells or emphasizes the necessity of sustainability and quality of the diet regarding weight loss. People following the “calories in, calories out” method often concentrate mainly on the calorie value of foods, not their nutrient value. What happens is that this would lead to the selection of low and nutrient lack food like egg whites and rice cakes over high-calorie ones like whole egg, avocados, etc which are great for health.

High Amount of Fatty Food Is Not Healthy

Even though this can be the antiquated and incorrect theory that is slowly being put to rest, still there are many people who fear high-fat foods. Surprisingly, they follow low-fat diets with the hopes that cutting their fat intake will benefit their overall health.

Of course, dietary fats are necessary for optimal health. Even the low-fat diet is often linked to the chances of a greater risk of health issues. These include the metabolic syndrome ones. Sometimes that would lead to increased insulin resistance and triglyceride levels, which are known risk factors for heart disease.

More than that, diets higher in fat are very much effective and to some extent the low-fat diets when it comes to encouraging weight loss. Of course, extremes in either direction, whether it be a very low fat or very high-fat diet, may harm your health, especially when diet quality is poor.

Of Course, Breakfast Is Most Important Meal of the Day

Previously, it was assumed that eating breakfast was one of the most important factors in setting yourself up for a healthy day. Current research shows this won’t be the case when it concerns most adults. Like certain research show that forgoing breakfast would reduce calorie intake.

Moreover, partaking in intermittent fasting, during which breakfast is either skipped or consumed later in the day, has been linked to a plethora of benefits, including improved blood sugar control and reductions in inflammatory markers. When it concerns intermittent fasting, that can be accomplished through the consumption of regular breakfast. That is more when you are having your last meal earlier on in the evening and that would be commonly for having a fasting window of around 12-17 hours.

One thing that you do need to keep in mind is that this will not be applied to growing children and teens or those with increased nutrient needs, such as pregnant women and those with certain health conditions, as skipping meals may lead to negative health effects in these populations. On the other hand, certain evidence clearly states that eating breakfast and consuming more calories earlier in the day compared to night, along with reduced meal frequency, would be beneficial to one’s health by reducing inflammation and body weight. Regardless, if you really enjoy breakfast, eat it. If you’re not a breakfast person, then don’t get the need to add it to your daily routine.

Maybe Non-nutritive Sweeteners Can Be a Healthy Option

There is a huge interest in low-calorie, low carb, sugar-free foods. This has led to an increase in products that has non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS). Well, a diet high in added sugar significantly increases disease risk, but the intake of NNS can also lead to negative health outcomes.

For example, the intake of the NNS increases the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. This would lead to negative shifts in the gut bacteria and promote blood sugar dysregulation. What’s more, the regular NNS intake is associated with overall unhealthy lifestyle patterns. Keep in mind that research in this area is ongoing, and future high-quality studies are needed to confirm these potential links.

What Are the Major Meal Timing Myths You Might Come Across?

1) Carbs Consumed After 6 PM in Night Get Stored as Fat in Our Body

Well, just because the sun is setting and the pack of wolves is howling toward the night sky, it won’t mean your body suddenly has no use for carbs and stores them as fat. Now such kind of fallacy gets stems from the basic idea that carbs increase the production of body’s production of insulin, which is the highly anabolic storage hormone. As a lot of people don’t move much in the evening, they have the fear that the insulin secretion from carbohydrates can lead to fat storage. Well, the truth is your body won’t dictate whether carbs or any other nutrients are stored as fat or used for energy simply by the time of day, it’s a lot more complex than that.

More importantly, many people who exercise in the evening can benefit from consuming a moderate serving of carbohydrates later in the day as carbs can help promote muscle growth and help your body recover after exercise.

Another factor is that slow-digesting, wholesome carbohydrate sources generally contain a good amount of fibre which promotes satiety which is the feeling of fullness and supports healthy digestion. Some research and studies show that eating carbs at night would help with fat loss. However, the mechanisms by how that works remain to be entirely clear.

Finally, carbs can even increase serotonin production in the brain. This is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feeling relaxed and calm. Thus, chomping on some carbs in the evening can even help you unwind and sleep better. Finally, carbs after 6 are fine. There is the total amount of carbs you eat per day that contributes to whether your weight drops, increases, or stays the same.

2) Tiny & Frequent Meals Would Speed the Metabolism

The most common debate that is constantly present in the fitness industry is how much frequently should one eat. Frankly, there is not that much aspect to debate about based on the recent studies.

Surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of studies present the fat that meal frequency does not have any kind of significant impact on metabolic rate and fat loss.

Frankly, various fitness coaches and nutritionists feel that if you eat more frequently, you can naturally boost the amount of energy or calories you burn per day, and that too is due to the thermic effect of feeding (TEF) increasing. The TEF is nothing but the number of calories we burn every time we consume food.

Various people assume that the calories we use to digest food would increase when we have smaller and more frequent meals. Well, that is not always true. Many kinds of research clearly display that when energy intake is equal between two diets, the net TEF which is present at the end of the day is the same for each regardless of meal frequency.

3) if You Skip Breakfast, You Can End in Gaining Weight

When you skip breakfast that is the first meal of the day, it is nothing but a short intermittent fasting period for the human body. There is also evidence that fasting in the short-term like 12 to 16 hours may have a variety of physiological benefits like increased utilization of fat as energy and increased growth hormone production.

Here the most and quite interesting aspect about intermittent fasting that is contrary to the most popular belief is that many research works show that it’s beneficial for healthy aging and metabolic rate in the long run.

Frankly, it’s true that our human body depends on amino acids, and these are the ones that you get once the protein is broken down for repair, as well as maintenance and building of muscle tissue. Now, some folks would assume that by skipping breakfast and specifically avoiding proteins with breakfast then our body can’t have these amino acids for helping with muscle repair.

Just consider this, if you ate a decent-sized, protein-rich meal the night before, you would still be having the necessary amount of amino acids swirling around in your body. Also, carbohydrates and fats can serve as preferential energy sources just before the body resorted to converting protein to useful energy. This means that skipping breakfast is not bad for fat loss or muscle building. In many ways, it is kind of beneficial.

4) When You Eat Late at Night, It Can Lead To Weight Gain

Along with various myths regarding carb consumption just after 6pm, when one eats late at night, it won’t mean that the food that you consume would just go straight to your hips. Here let’s get the fact clear. When some people work out late especially at night, they end up getting short-term based metabolic effects like enhancing insulin sensitivity.

While the body does have biorhythms that regulate hormone secretion, this doesn’t mean the body goes into “fat-storage” mode later at night. The body is not an on-off switch when it comes to how it handles nutrients.

There is research suggesting that individuals who preferentially eat most of their calories at dinner maintain similar body composition as those who eat large meals earlier in the day. This isn’t to say you should binge on a huge meal and then go right to bed, but there is certainly little reason to believe that eating a nominal amount of food later in the evening is going to make you gain fat.

5) As Soon as You Workout, You Should Have Protein Shake

Most gym-goers, especially bodybuilders and weightlifters alike, assume that the minute they finish their last rep their body goes into that old chestnut: “catabolic mode”. However multiple research shows that there is no significant difference in body composition changes among people who chug a protein shake right after training and those who wait two to three hours after training to eat. Here physiologically this occurs because your muscles are primed for getting some proteins for many hours and not minutes just after training. Well, you won’t require to fret about missing the window of opportunity, that various health, as well as fitness gurus, take on.

Basically, such a myth is perpetuated for many decades by supplement companies. All this is done for selling their protein powder.


Well, now that you have learned about the myths concerning the foodstuffs, the next step is to just turn them over. You know that such myths are not true. The right thing to do is ignore them and follow the ones that really make sense.

Try to check out with your doctors or do decent research just before you follow these kinds of myths blindly. Well, it is better to be safe than sorry when it concerns your health.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.