Meal Timing to Boost Your Metabolic Health


Your Internal Rhythm

Humans have an internal rhythm. It dictates activities we engage in collectively. Sleep, wakefulness—even behaviors like eating—are relegated by revolving daylight and nightfall. Each signals your self-generated biological clock to reset roughly every 24 hours. 

This circadian rhythm helps to keep your body functioning on a schedule. An internal timeclock helps you adjust to environmental changes and regulate natural systems, including metabolism and body weight. 


Off the Clock

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When you eat may be every bit as important as what you eat. In recent years, changing eating habits have mindlessly eliminated set, daily meal times, and snacking and late-night meals have no limits. Gone are the traditional three square meals of past generations. 

Erratic timing of meals is the new normal. Busy schedules and other lifestyle factors have opened up our feeding windows to accommodate irregular work hours, late nights, and a proliferation of endless snacking. 

Recent research shows our internal circadian clock, which regulates all aspects of metabolism, is an important piece of the puzzle that contributes to our overall metabolic function. Aligning your meal patterns with your sleep and wake cycles can be a powerful strategy to reduce appetite and enhance metabolic health.  

Metabolic health1—having blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and waist circumference all at ideal levels—directly correlates to your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Metabolic syndrome, a combination of two or more metabolic disorders, affects about 23 percent2 of adults, putting them at higher risk for these metabolic conditions. 

A connection between your biorhythms and your ability to manage a healthy weight is found in emerging research3. Eating and sleeping in harmony with your circadian clock is a powerful way to improve metabolic regulation and maintain a healthy bodyweight. 


Timely Mealtimes for Metabolic Health 

Timing your meals for greater metabolic function can be tricky to get just right. Here are a few strategies to try on for size: 

  1. Breakfast Benefits: Results4 are mixed on whether eating a nutritious breakfast increases or inhibits weight loss. For some, skipping breakfast (the first meal within two hours of waking) was helpful to decrease daily calories. However, if skipping or delaying your first meal of the day causes you to consume more throughout the day or overeat after your morning fast, it may be best to keep a healthy breakfast in your daily routine. 
  2. Consistent Meal Timing5: Restricting meals to specific times throughout the day reinforces a daily schedule. It takes time for your body to adapt to fluctuating mealtimes. It’s best to regulate your hunger by letting your body get used to consistent meal times each day. 
  3. Eat Your Largest Meal Earlier: Eating late at night (within two hours before bed) correlates with higher blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Enjoying the largest meal of the day earlier in the evening, or even at lunch or breakfast, could have lasting results to maintain your weight. 
  4. Intermittent Fasting6: Restricting your energy intake to a compressed window of time each day may be an effective alternative to calorie restriction. Training your body to reach satiety during an eight-hour window can help with weight loss and decrease cardiovascular and diabetes risk.


Keep Time with Healthy Digestion 

Achieving healthy digestion is a big part of metabolic health. Probiotic foods or supplements add a greater variety of healthy bacteria to your optimally timed eating plan.

Many foods already in your diet may contain live probiotic microbes helpful for a healthy, balanced gut microbiome. Foods that are cultured or fermented—yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi—can help to add important bacteria to your gut flora. 

If these foods don’t get much play time in your everyday meal planning, taking probiotics7 regularly can provide favorable bacteria for healthy digestion. Find a probiotic you can trust—we like USANA Probiotic. It contains a blend of 12 billion colony-forming units of bacteria that can survive the harsh environment of your stomach to support healthy digestion function.* 

Consistency may be even more important than when you take your probiotics each day. As you create cohesion with your meal timing, develop a routine for taking your supplement at a regular time each day. 


Around-the-Clock Mindfulness

When choosing a route to greater health, finding a regular schedule in tandem with your natural internal clock can help you make powerful changes to your body composition and maintain lasting metabolic health. Mindful choices with meal timing, in addition to healthy dietary decisions can help to put you on the path to long-lasting health.