There is a constant debate on what time your last meal of the day should be. I want to discuss this very briefly as the answer to this is simple. Your last meal of the day CAN be after 6pm. In fact, it can be after 7pm, 8pm, 9pm and even 10pm.
Why is it that so many people believe this theory that your last meal of the day should be at 6pm? And, how can they be so accurate? They CAN’T. Everyone’s body is completely different and their lifestyle goals have different needs. Now, I’m not saying to go eat a cheeseburger and fries every day at midnight, or pig out on Ben & Jerry’s before bed, but I am saying that you need to understand a healthy balanced diet for your lifestyle in order to make an accurate time schedule for your last meal of the day.
So, let me give you some examples. If you wake up at 8am then your FIRST meal should be no later to an hour and a half after waking up. NO LATER. Why? Because science dictates that the human body needs to consume a meal soon after waking in order to kick start the metabolism and provide energy to perform for the next 10-12 hours of the day. What this means is that in order for your body to perform its basic functions, you need to feed it. Now, this might sound super obvious to you, however, many people skip breakfast, which I believe is the bigger problem to most people’s diets than eating after 6pm.
With that said, you should eat every 2-3 hours after consuming breakfast until about 1 hour before sleep. This should be the proper balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats relative to your goal. This is the basic rule of a healthy diet, healthy body, and healthy metabolism. Bottom line is, don’t always believe everything you read or see on the news. Just because your skinny fiend has certain eating habits, it doesn’t mean that they’re healthy.
Learn the facts and create a schedule based on your lifestyle. If you work until 10pm, it might make sense that your last meal is at 11pm, or even midnight, depending on your sleep schedule. By training your metabolism to absorb food every 2-3 hours, you turn your body into a metabolic machine. Your body absorbs the nutrients you put in to it and uses it where it is needed. For example, carbohydrates are your body’s number one source of energy that gets used first (before protein, fat and alcohol). It is recommended by most sources that about 45-60% of our energy intake should come from carbohydrates. They also have important roles in our body including: they react with proteins and fats for many bodily processes, they provide nutrients for the good bacteria in our intestines that helps us digest our food, and they protect our muscles because without glucose (a form of carb), protein from our muscles will be used to essentially “eat its own muscle.”
My simple advice is to not skip meals, figure out a balanced and healthy diet that is right for you, and focus on yourself and not let the opinions of other or their eating habits affect yours.
For more detailed nutritional questions and concerns with your body and lifestyle, you can contact me directly to set up a full nutritional assessment and consultation.
PS- My last meal of the day is usually around 10pm.