“People who eat irregular hours are more likely to be overweight” NOW

Research shows that it’s not just what we eat that matters for our health, but when we eat it too. Nutritionist Gerda Pot: “One calorie is not always the same calorie.”

What do you mean by “one calorie is not always the same calorie”?

“That it makes a difference when you eat. In one moment the body handles a calorie differently than in another moment. Mice. “

“Mice are naturally nocturnal animals. Eating during the day, that is, during their night, makes mice much fatter than if they were to eat the same amount of calories at night (her ‘day’, ed.).”

How is that possible?

“It has everything to do with the biological clock. It ensures that the physiological processes run smoothly by controlling all kinds of clocks in our organs. For most people, the biological clock does not run exactly on a 24-hour rhythm. To keep up with the world around us, which maintains a rhythm of exactly 24 hours, he has two so-called Timer: Daylight and food. “

“When you eat at unusual times, the same thing happens as when you ‘pick up’ light at unusual times. Your biological clock becomes confused.”

Then what goes wrong?

“All kinds of processes are disturbed. For example, the clocks of the liver and pancreas, which regulate blood sugar levels, can no longer be in sync. And organs that are involved in digestion. They are not yet ready for consumption when food arrive.” Task. The result: digestion is less efficient. “

“We get a third of our daily calories from snacks. This confuses the biological clock. “

“This effect is apparently significant my own research. H. H.Although people who eat at irregular times typically consume fewer calories, they are more likely to be overweight. “

So should we eat regularly?

Three times a day at about the same time. That keeps the biological clock in order. It also ensures that we no longer eat. Today we get a third of our daily calories from snacks. confused. In addition, the body then has no time to carry out the necessary ‘maintenance work’ and clear up the chaos. “

When is the best time for the main meal?

“If you look at glucose levels during the day, you can see that in the morning we mostly burn sugar more efficiently. From this you can conclude that the best thing in the morning is to take your carbohydrates. So eat breakfast like royalty.”

Does that apply to everyone?

“When you should eat for the most efficient combustion varies from person to person. It depends, for example, on whether you are a person in the morning or in the evening. Research has shown that the largest meal is best eaten around noon. In the evening we burn Food is usually slower and less efficient. “

Gerda Pot is a nutritionist and chrononutrition researcher at the Louis Bolk Institute and King’s College London.