Eat More Calories in the Morning to Lose Weight

Eat More Calories in the Morning to Lose Weight
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A calorie is not a calorie—it not only depends on what you eat, but when you eat.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Mice are nocturnal creatures. They eat during the night and sleep during the day. If, however, you just feed mice during the day, they gain more weight than if you feed them a similar amount of calories at night. Same food, about the same amount of food, but different weight outcomes, suggesting that eating at the “wrong” time may lead to disproportionate weight gain. In humans, that would presumably mean eating at night.

Weight management recommendations often include advice to limit nighttime food consumption, but this was largely anecdotal until it was first studied experimentally in 2013. Researchers instructed a group of young men to not eat after 7pm for two weeks. Compared to a control period where they continued their regular habits, after the night-eating restriction they ended up about two pounds lighter. This is not surprising, given that dietary records show they inadvertently ate fewer calories during that time. To see if timing has metabolic effects beyond just foreclosing eating opportunities, you’d have to force people to eat the same amount of the same food, just at different times of the day. The U.S. army stepped forward to carry out just such an investigation.

In the first set of experiments, army researchers had people eat a single meal a day either as breakfast or dinner. The results clearly showed the breakfast group lost more weight. Check it out: Have people eat only once a day at dinner, and their weight doesn’t change much. Have them eat once a day at breakfast, and they lose about two pounds a week. Like in the night-eating restriction study, this is to be expected, given that people tend to be hungrier in the evening. Think about it. If you went nine hours without eating during the day you’d be famished, but people go nine hours overnight all the time and don’t wake up ravenous. There is a natural circadian rhythm to hunger that peaks at about 8pm and drops to its lowest level at around 8am. That may be why breakfast typically is the smallest meal of the day.

The circadian rhythm of our appetite isn’t just behavioral, it’s biological. It’s not just that we’re hungrier in the evening because we’ve been running around all day. If you stayed up all night and slept throughout the day, you’d still be hungriest when you woke up that evening. To untangle the factors, scientists use what’s called a “forced desynchrony” protocol where they lock people up in a room without windows in constant unchanging dim light and make people sleep in staggered 20-hour cycles to totally scramble them up. This goes on for over a week, so the study subjects end up eating and sleeping at different times throughout all phases of the day. Then you can see if cyclical phenomenon are truly based on internal clocks or just a consequence of what you happen to be doing at the time.

For instance, there’s a daily swing in our core body temperature—and blood pressure, and hormone production, and digestion, and immune activity, and almost everything else. But let’s use temperature as an example. Your body temperature bottoms out usually around 4am, dropping from 98.6 °F down to more like 97.6 °F. Is this just because your body cools down as you’re sleeping? No, you can show experimentally, by keeping people awake and busy for 24 hours straight, that it happens at about the same time no matter what. It’s part of our circadian rhythm, just like our appetite. It makes sense, then, if you are only eating one meal per day and you want to lose weight, you’d want to eat in the morning when your hunger hormones are at their lowest level.

Okay, but then things start to get weird.

The army scientists repeated the experiment, but this time they had the participants eat exactly 2,000 calories—either for breakfast or for dinner. That takes appetite out of the picture. They were also not allowed to exercise. Same number of calories, so same change in weight, right? No, the breakfast-only group still lost about two pounds a week compared to the dinner-only group. Two pounds of weight loss eating the same number of calories. That’s why this concept of chronobiology, meal timing—when to eat—is so important.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Dustin Kirkpatrick. Image has been modified.

Video production by Glass Entertainment.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Mice are nocturnal creatures. They eat during the night and sleep during the day. If, however, you just feed mice during the day, they gain more weight than if you feed them a similar amount of calories at night. Same food, about the same amount of food, but different weight outcomes, suggesting that eating at the “wrong” time may lead to disproportionate weight gain. In humans, that would presumably mean eating at night.

Weight management recommendations often include advice to limit nighttime food consumption, but this was largely anecdotal until it was first studied experimentally in 2013. Researchers instructed a group of young men to not eat after 7pm for two weeks. Compared to a control period where they continued their regular habits, after the night-eating restriction they ended up about two pounds lighter. This is not surprising, given that dietary records show they inadvertently ate fewer calories during that time. To see if timing has metabolic effects beyond just foreclosing eating opportunities, you’d have to force people to eat the same amount of the same food, just at different times of the day. The U.S. army stepped forward to carry out just such an investigation.

In the first set of experiments, army researchers had people eat a single meal a day either as breakfast or dinner. The results clearly showed the breakfast group lost more weight. Check it out: Have people eat only once a day at dinner, and their weight doesn’t change much. Have them eat once a day at breakfast, and they lose about two pounds a week. Like in the night-eating restriction study, this is to be expected, given that people tend to be hungrier in the evening. Think about it. If you went nine hours without eating during the day you’d be famished, but people go nine hours overnight all the time and don’t wake up ravenous. There is a natural circadian rhythm to hunger that peaks at about 8pm and drops to its lowest level at around 8am. That may be why breakfast typically is the smallest meal of the day.

The circadian rhythm of our appetite isn’t just behavioral, it’s biological. It’s not just that we’re hungrier in the evening because we’ve been running around all day. If you stayed up all night and slept throughout the day, you’d still be hungriest when you woke up that evening. To untangle the factors, scientists use what’s called a “forced desynchrony” protocol where they lock people up in a room without windows in constant unchanging dim light and make people sleep in staggered 20-hour cycles to totally scramble them up. This goes on for over a week, so the study subjects end up eating and sleeping at different times throughout all phases of the day. Then you can see if cyclical phenomenon are truly based on internal clocks or just a consequence of what you happen to be doing at the time.

For instance, there’s a daily swing in our core body temperature—and blood pressure, and hormone production, and digestion, and immune activity, and almost everything else. But let’s use temperature as an example. Your body temperature bottoms out usually around 4am, dropping from 98.6 °F down to more like 97.6 °F. Is this just because your body cools down as you’re sleeping? No, you can show experimentally, by keeping people awake and busy for 24 hours straight, that it happens at about the same time no matter what. It’s part of our circadian rhythm, just like our appetite. It makes sense, then, if you are only eating one meal per day and you want to lose weight, you’d want to eat in the morning when your hunger hormones are at their lowest level.

Okay, but then things start to get weird.

The army scientists repeated the experiment, but this time they had the participants eat exactly 2,000 calories—either for breakfast or for dinner. That takes appetite out of the picture. They were also not allowed to exercise. Same number of calories, so same change in weight, right? No, the breakfast-only group still lost about two pounds a week compared to the dinner-only group. Two pounds of weight loss eating the same number of calories. That’s why this concept of chronobiology, meal timing—when to eat—is so important.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Dustin Kirkpatrick. Image has been modified.

Video production by Glass Entertainment.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

Isn’t that wild? Two pounds of weight loss a week eating the same number of calories. But that was a pretty extreme study. What about just shifting a greater percentage of calories toward earlier in the day? That’s the subject of my next video on the subject, Breakfast Like a King, Lunch Like a Prince, Dinner Like a Pauper. But first we’re going to take a break from chronobiology to look at the Benefits of Garlic for Fighting Cancer and the Common Cold.

Then we’ll resume with:

If you missed the first three videos in this extended series, check out:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

116 responses to “Eat More Calories in the Morning to Lose Weight

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  1. My issue with eating a big breakfast is that heart attacks happen mostly in the morning and my instinct has always been to eat light until I am warmed up, fully awake and have a bigger appetite. I’ve acclimated to this routine.

    I’ve been eating a big meal once a day in the evening for so long that I don’t think I’m going to change that behavior. And honestly I think it’s healthier. I eat fruit and lighter food all day. Because when I eat a decent meal I like to relax and let it digest. I’m always lethargic after a big meal. I don’t want to do that during the day. It’s not efficient. What works for me is to eat a big meal late in the day and just fall asleep. This is extremely efficient! I have a little fruit in the morning, poop, and I’m clean for the day, because when and how often you poop it’s also a big consideration for vegans. It can disrupt a work day. So if there’s a problem with gaining weight that may just indicate that later eating is in fact more efficient! And the solution might be to eat lower density food or just eat less! Instead of messing with the meal time.

    So I’m currently unconvinced about the health of eating big meals early in the day and it’s clearly only for the purpose of losing weight.

    1. Could it be that heart attacks happen early in the day because people eat their largest meal in the evening and then do not rest well at night because the digestive system has to work all night or decides to rest anyway with all the undigested food sitting there? Then when a person gets up and begins to move around, the unrested heart gets too much stress and it sometimes stops too.

        1. Actually, Bacon and Eggs are not a killer. There is clear science supporting this now. After more than a decade of medical practices all of the world treating illness with the Ketogenic diet as a medical intervention – not only do the people eating a LCHF diet lose a lot of weight, they reverse type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, get vastly improved good cholesterol, and reduced bad cholesterol (and the bad cholesterol is the big “fluffy” molecules that are protective instead of harmful like the small bad cholesterol molecules), vastly improved triglycerides, eliminate leaky gut, IBS, PCOS, not only stop tumor growth in many forms of cancer but actually starve them to death, relieve many forms of mental health issues such as depression, and reverse NAFLD. Have vastly improved vitamin D, B12, Iron, and other vitamin sufficiency. Metabolic syndrome caused by a high carbohydrate diet is now established as the leading cause of most illnesses.

          1. There is only one diet proven to reverse type 2 diabetes. And it isn’t Keto. And bacon is a proven carcinogen. There are more errors in your paragraph than I have time to correct. Thanks for visiting the WFPB lifestyle..

          2. Robin,

            May I suggest a few minutes spent with listening to Dr. G: https://nutritionfacts.org/audio/keto-diet-series-part-1/ and https://nutritionfacts.org/audio/keto-diet-series-part-2/.

            Obviously, there is a very distinct difference in the realities between your belief system and the WFPB diet and I’d like to suggest some further evaluation. In clinical practice I have seen those doing the keto approach often and having the luxury of time have seen the results be both limited time wise and consistently not effective in the long run.

            Thanks for taking the time to evaluate this issue further.

            Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

    2. ” …clearly only for the purpose of losing weight.”

      But therein lies your mistake John McClaren. It isn’t just about weight loss. This article might interest you. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156
      Among other things, it can lower insulin levels, increase insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, decreased hunger and lower blood sugar. I have also read about improving body fat/muscle ratios (nafld). For myself, acid reflux is gone, and now sleeping well for the first time in over 10 yrs.

      I get it that some people’s lives run on later-in-the-day schedules, or tend to be night owls, but from what I am reading so far, eating a lighter supper not closer than 3 hours to bedtime reaps benefits worth investigating.

      1. Great article and reassuring. I intermittent fast Monday to Friday fasting from about 7pm to 12 midday or thereabouts. If I eat breakfast I’m hungry every few hours so overall much less calories with just lunch and early dinner. I’m on Australia time, we sleep and rise very early here! Bed 830pm and awake around 5/6am

        1. Interesting. I am not hungry for breakfast when I rise but if I do eat breakfast I find that I am more hungry throughout the day. It’s like a switch to eat was turned on. I have had other friends confirm this. My husband, on the other hand, must eat breakfast but I suspect it has to do with blood sugar issues.

    3. I think as long as you stop eating by 7 pm, you’re good. Most, if not all of the studies Dr. Greger has shown during this series show beneficial health effects, including weight, when food is not consumed after 7 pm.

      There’s also a cortisol chronobiology. Cortisol makes us insulin resistant and it peaks around when we wake up. So I think that eating after 10 am when cortisol has dropped is healthier.

      1. Julie, you could be right about the 10 am, idk. I wake up at 5am, and don’t eat until it’s past 8am though so I wonder what my cortisol levels would bevat that time? I meditate, walk the dogs, shower etc before I get to breakfast.

    4. Honestly, I used to eat like you the same exact way. I changed it probably 4 years ago and lost 30 pds. I eat a small breakfast though, probiotics usually, my lunch is huge, snack at 3 and don’t eat another bite until morning. On occasion for events I will eat a small dinner and am totally out of whack with indigestion and just yuk.

    5. John, stay tuned for future videos. I’ve read How Not to Diet and the chronobiology section is worth the entire price of the book. Morning-weighted vs evening-weighted eating was better for weight loss, blood sugar control, and lowered heart disease risk. Evening eating caused higher triglycerides and LDL. Eating breakfast is also one of the triggers that keeps us on a normal chronobiological cycle, along with exposure to sunlight.

      Much empathy for you, though – this is an unwelcome and inconvenient truth for this lifelong breakfast-skipper. My husband and I are working toward a major change, but it’s going to take a while!

    6. I think you’re right–this is the natural pattern. As gatherer-hunters, we would have eaten small snacks throughout the day and feasted towards evening after all the stuff had been gathered. Night is the anabolic phase of human metabolism, when we are resting, digesting, and growing. It is indeed more efficient. The problem comes when the modern diet is eaten in a very efficient way, and hence why early time-restricted eating is protective. I haven’t looked at the latest studies posted above, but it seems to me that time-restricted eating protects against unhealthy diets, but CRON is superior.

    7. John,

      I’ve done the same for many years – it works for me and has kept my weight stable. I have no desire to lose weight and I never feel deprived or hungry during the day. Also, my dinner meal is typically consumed at 6 pm, well before my 10 pm bedtime, and the foods I do consume are WFPB so perhaps those are variables that weren’t taken into account in the studies cited here and in Dr. Greger’s recent How Not to Diet book (though I did take serious note of the potential negative health effects of eating the bulk of one’s calories in the evening.)

  2. I think part of the problem is that people interpret assuaging hunger signals in the evening as doing what’s best for their body health-wise. It took some resolve on my part to change my eating habits to eating between 8am to 5pm, but I quickly saw benefits. Now in the evening I have clear herbal tea, and I go for a walk. Heavy exercise is reserved for the late morning.
    I really appreciate Dr Greger delving into this topic! The suggestions I have applied so far have been worth the effort.

  3. This is fascinating and I have already started to incorporate changes to my daily eating habits. Today had my salad and then dinner entree at about 9:30am, lunch will be what I normally eat for breakfast (savory oat groats w/greens, then a bowl of berries mid-afternoon. When I get home from work I will have a smoothie to incorporate another serving of fruit, with ground flax for a thickener, among other health reasons, and sip on it slowly, or soup, depending on the day. More calories early on for my body to burn during the day, and light calories for my last meal so my body does not have to work on digestion (and storing excess calories as fat) while I am sleeping. Since I started this the other day I have already lost 2 lbs.

  4. Here are some of the questions that remain unanswered even from the studies cited by Dr. Gregor.

    Time restricted or intermittent fasting works.
    Whole Food Plant Based Diets work.
    Is eating a WFPD diet better if you follow it all day as compared to four hours?
    If your feeding window is four hours you will lose more fat by eating in the morning than at night. Probably?
    What about if your eating window during the day is eight, ten or twelve hours but your window at night is four hours?
    What if your nightime snacks are blueberries and apples?
    Is eating between 10AM and 6PM really better than eating between 4PM and 8PM?
    What about weightlifting or running at night before I eat?
    What if I break my fast with Apples and Carrots and start to become full?

    The big benefit of intermittent fasting is BEHAVIORAL. I get up and go to work keep busy and food really is not on my mind.
    When we think of dinner we think of being with family sitting down for dinner etc.

    1. Good thoughts. I IF from 2 pm to 8 pm, because I enjoy dinner with family. If I eat early in the day, my mind constantly strays to food. If I wait to eat, I am fine.
      I don’t need to lose weight.
      Different strokes for different folks.

    1. Joe,

      That is an interesting topic. I wonder how many people switched to stainless steel pots to avoid non-stick or aluminum?

      Mic The Vegan just did something on someone who left veganism because of nickel causing dermatitis.

      It would be a shame if it was her cookware causing it.

      It seems to be a new ‘hot topic” and I suspect it will be covered someday.

      I was just thinking about it because there are multicookers with clay pots and I have been doing stainless steel everything. I worry about heavy metals and my brain and ended up using the microwave to avoid thinking too much about cookware.

      But all of these decisions matter.

      I looked at the multicookers with the clay pots and people season them with oil and soak them before using them to avoid cracking. Modern life is so complicated.

      I am still researching disinfecting with UV light and PubMed gave me that it works up to 8 feet away, as long as the item is touched by the light and they recommended 30 minutes, but said that 20 might be sufficient. That is a very big difference compared to the ten seconds some of the wand sellers say and 30 seconds in the UV light box.

      So, I mentally have to go back and forth about who to trust. The SteriPen works in 30 seconds, the phone soap works, etc.

      Then, I have to do the 36-watt bulb one that does the 30 minutes and how that would affect my electricity versus a hot water washing machine wash versus buying bleach for a year.

      Sigh.

      Some of us didn’t like math and also have trust issues with authority.

      I feel like I am going to figure a lot of it out and then need therapy.

      1. I found a professional who did one petri dish experiment with a phone sanitizer and theirs must have only done 15 seconds because theirs didn’t work at all. I found someone who did a test and 15 seconds did nothing at all. But 1 minute only 2 e-coli had survived and 2 minutes all of the e-coli was gone.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4qrnMlhbpE

        I guess I am going to have to go one species at a time.

        1. I went to visit my cousin who is coming home from rehab today and found out that rehabs use pillows infused with silver. I heard that and ended up buying some Silvertize cloths for him and for me to clean with.

          He keeps going into the hospital for things like infections, so it seems to make sense.

          I am so mentally stressed out by all of the math that I am settling for some Silvertize cloths and some E-cloths, a Steri-pen, a UV light with a timer and a steamer hose on a vacuum/steamer mop and I am going to try to stop buying cleaning products and I am going to try steaming the clothes that I wore for the day and hanging them in front of a UV light just to see what happens.

          If the odors go away, I am going to start just hanging my clothing up. Maybe except for my underwear.

          We will see, but it is my environmental test run.

          I hate these processes so much because it is hard to know how to spot con artist products and planned obsolescence and hidden risks and hidden costs, but I found a UV lamp with a replaceable bulb. Not as pretty as Home Soap, but it has a timer and I am going to see if I can hang my clothes up in the bathroom and sanitize them at the same time I sanitize my e-cloths and my toilet.

          Good luck everybody.

          Life is hard to figure out.

  5. Okay, but is it healthier? There seem to be a lot of videos about losing weight these days. Sure, it’s healthy to lose weight if you are overweight, but is this a healthy way to do it? I wish the focus on videos would be more on health. I thought most people were here looking to live life as disease-free as possible, and want to know “How Not To Die.” Are most people here just trying to lose weight? Maybe the site did a survey and discovered that is why most people are here. I don’t know. Shouldn’t we focus on healthy changes and let the weight come off as a byproduct?

    1. SpareChaos – Most of the videos related to losing weight are from the research for Dr. Greger’s new book, How Not to Diet, which continues to focus on health, but with a focus on weight loss, too. As presented, Dr.
      Greger is telling us what has been learned about living life as disease-free as possible since How Not to Die was published. I consider How Not to Diet, book two of the series, and with the new book he includes ways to possibly lose weight as well, especially given how overweight our population has become since the 1970s.

    2. SpareChaos,

      I don’t think the site had to do a survey.

      Polls in the country say that 1 in 10 people spend January thinking about a New Years Resolution to lose weight and weight loss has risen to 73 billion dollars per year industry in America alone.

      I have only been on this site for 2 years, but both years, the top videos of the year have been multiple videos on Diet.

      “The best diet for…” wins multiple of the top 10 spots in the videos.

      Just using the word, “Diet” attracts the biggest audience.

      Plus, obesity is such a big disease risk factor, so it is very much about health.

      I am someone who switched all the way over to WFPB and didn’t lose weight and I have severe insomnia and at times don’t fall asleep until 7 in the morning, so these videos are the ones that I needed the most.

    3. I entirely agree with you. I am becoming disheartened with all those rules. Like you, I want to be healthy and strong, not skinny as a mannequin.
      Louiselle

      1. Louiselle,

        If you are healthy and strong and not overweight and are eating WFPB, then you are already doing well.

        It might be easier for you if you don’t see them as “rules” they are “the science” for people who are still trying to figure it out.

        I was so frustrated because I went from a high-fat dairy, refined carbs and junk food diet to great big salads with kale and cruciferous and blueberries and no-oil hummus and all sorts of other vegetables and I didn’t lose weight and genuinely have not been able to figure it out.

        This gives me an explanation and a tool to try.

        I have struggled for decades with not sleeping at night and feeling sick at the thought of eating breakfast. Him saying that people are less hungry in the morning helps me understand that it is natural and that I can figure out maybe how to eat a big meal at noon or something like that and it just gives me something to try.

        1. Try meditation at night before bed. And stay away from lighting for a few hours before bedtime. Maybe wear blue blocking sunglasses. The meditation boosts melatonin levels and helps sleep.

      2. He spent the last decade making videos on the healthiest diet. It’s a whole food plant based diet. All that information is in his first book “How Not to Die”. We don’t need another study showing a WFPB diet is the optimal diet for human health. It’s been shown over and over again.

        Most people in the US are overweight. Most people aren’t interested in a healthy diet. Most people are interested in dieting for weight loss. He wrote his second book for that purpose called “How Not to Diet”. These videos are about that information.

        1. Blair,

          Yes, he hasn’t shifted on that position. WFPB is still the way to go.

          The thing is, Dr. Lisle has done a video on the “mistakes” people make that cause them to not lose weight even going WFPB and Dr. Greger’s How Not to Diet book includes 500+ pages of “other mistakes” people make when Dr. Lisle’s version of mistakes still didn’t work.

    4. Wait for it. Morning-weighted vs evening-weighted eating was better for weight loss, blood sugar control, and lowered heart disease risk. Evening eating caused higher triglycerides and LDL. Chronobiology is about health, not just weight.

  6. Does it matter WHAT you eat for breakfast? I don’t like typical breakfast food. I would much rather have dinner leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner than “breakfast food” and I have no interest in smoothies. I enjoy the experience of chewing my food. So can I have my bean and lentil chili for breakfast and still comply with this recommendation? Have any studies been done on this?

    1. LB,

      I understand that many cultures eat left-overs from the previous day dinner (maybe lunch, too). That makes a lot of sense; much easier, and more convenient. And I’ve read that many folks eat salads, soups, stews, etc for breakfast.

      There’s no reason to limit yourself to typical “breakfast” foods, these were all developed by marketers anyway.

      When I dropped eggs from my diet (I was a vegetarian who transitioned to whole plant foods a few years ago), I decided to eat cooked beans instead. With toast — I make my own sourdough whole grain bread, and I really like toast. But I also like oats, and am now eating steel cut oats with added raisins and apples, and cinnamon and nutmeg, in soy milk and water; I add all kinds of toppings from chopped nuts to dried berries to ground flaxseed and intact seeds. But, I could see eating this at lunch, or at dinner. I could also see eating savory steel cut oats, or even intact oat groats. Which I have cooked and eaten.

      I’ve had almost 7 decades of eating a major meal in the evening, so it’s a lot to change. I think the most important things are avoiding processed foods, avoiding animal products, and avoiding added oil, sugar and salt. Or, to put it another way, to eat lots (more) of whole plant foods, veggies and fruits, beans and whole grains, and nuts and seeds. I tend not to sweat the details; I cook because I like to eat the kinds of food I make. We tend to eat small meals and snacks through out the day. But then we’re retired, which makes it easier to do that.

  7. LB, I’d say yes! Eat your dinner foods for breakfast. You may get even better results that those of us eating oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. I bet you stay full longer too.

  8. Does anyone know why appetites peak at 8 pm and are lowest at 8 am. It seems counterintuitive if it is healthier to not eat after 7pm

    1. Darla, good question! I wonder if it peaks at 8 PM because of something else going on behaviorally at that time- like sitting in front of the TV? Has a study been done that takes this factor into account?

  9. I wish there was more science that tries to replicate these findings in bigger cohorts of older, metabolically unhealthy men and women.

    Most of these studies seem small, and focused on young healthy men (and at least 10 women in one study)

    E.g.”The present study primarily examined the short-term effect of night eating restriction (NER) on daily EI in healthy young men. It secondarily examined body weight and moods associated with NER. Using a cross-over design, twenty-nine men (20·9 (SD 2·5) years; 24·4 (SD 2·5) kg/m2 ) initiated a 2-week NER intervention (elimination of EI from 19.00 to 06.00 hours) and a 2-week control condition, counterbalanced and separated by a 1-week washout period…… These findings provide support for NER decreasing short-term EI in healthy young men.”

    This seems statistically underpowered to be able to apply to the population as a whole. And anyway only proves the outcome in ” healthy young men” over the short term (two weeks). Plus, outcomes are very sensitive to baseline characteristics..would the same results be achieved if you applied this same model to 200 obese, postmenopausal women of different ethnicities who likely have very different insulin/grehlin/leptin/testosterone levels than those of the 29 healthy, non obese young men?

    I appreciate what evidence we do have, but seems a pity we don’t have more research that is reflective of real world people who are struggling metabolically.

  10. In trying to eat the Daily Dozen, I do find that my calorie content is front-loaded each day with flaxseed etc. in my smoothie. But I wonder, has anyone tallied the actual calories it takes to meet the Daily Dozen? I’m concerned that if I’m eating published serving sizes of nuts, 3x whole grains, 3x beans etc. Can I actually do that and still create enough calorie deficit to lose weight? Should I be eating smaller servings of all these things? Thanks for your help!

    1. Bryan,

      Are you struggling to lose weight on it?

      That is the first question.

      Meaning are you concerned because it isn’t working for you? Or is it more of a mental question?

      If you are not succeeding, then, I would start with an online food journal and then look at the calorie density chart.

      Dr. Lisle is one who says that the mistakes are often doing the calories in things like smoothies or juices, rather than the whole foods.

      Dr. Greger showing that two people could eat 20,000 calories different and have different weight loss experiences based on time they eat already makes it so that I wouldn’t know how to answer the calories question.

      1. The fact that you can eat so many more calories if you eat them at breakfast, there should be a calorie site that also tracks the time of day and adjusts your calories needed to lose weight based on when you eat them.

      2. I am struggling to meet my goal weight. I’m 6-1 and weigh 155 so I think that’s a healthy weight per the tables. But looking at the mirror, I definitely have fat in places I should lose.

        1. Bryan,

          My husband is 5’ 11” (maybe; we are both older and getting shorter), and he now weighs 155, which I think is just perfect. It’s also about 55 pounds less than when I met him 12 years ago. He did want to lose weight, so he started practicing portion control, and eating vegetarian food — since he wanted to eat my vegetarian cooking (as opposed to his prepared and processed food), and he lost 35 pounds over about 18 months. Then a few years ago we both transitioned to whole plant food eating, and he lost another 20 pounds, also slowly, but without meaning to.

          I read in “How Not to Diet” (a great book, btw, and I highly recommend it), that the closer you get to the weight you want, (or at least the more weight you want to lose) the harder it is to reach it (or to lose more). All kinds of biological factors interfere with your goals if trying to diet, such as your basal metabolic rate decreases as you lose weight (it takes less energy to live as a thinner person), you unwittingly start to move less (to conserve energy), and your appetite revs up leading to unconscious increased eating (I guess your body thinks “Help!! I’m starving!” And tries to make up for decreased calorie input). So weight loss hits a plateau.

          Exercise might help. But maybe you do that already. If so, try to read the book; it’s great! Even for those who don’t want to lose weight.

  11. I go back to those nocturnal mice and wonder if nocturnal people may have a different situation as the mice?

    Have they done the same study with night workers?

    My brother couldn’t sleep at night starting from birth. He was always nocturnal.

    I briefly had the room next door to him and he would be awake doing things like lifting weights at 3 in the morning and he would keep me awake and I would get sick when I didn’t get sleep back then.

    My parents moved me to a different room.

  12. Night shift workers do want to know when to eat and the health care industry and police and security guards and retail is full of night-shift workers.

    Do they need to eat before going to bed?

      1. Wow,

        Thanks, Barb!

        Yes, I am waiting for his video on the night shift working.

        Internally, I know from my own research that it is generally bad news.

        I just wonder if there has been a breakthrough in how to help night-shift workers know what to do.

        1. The fact that my organs have a mind of their own is already fascinating to me. I have been trying to read on the internal clocks already, but the language of each clock is a little confusing.

          I think it will help me when I see it on a video.

          When I read: They found that, following the night shift schedule, 24-hour rhythms in metabolites related to the digestive system shifted by a full 12 hours, even though the master biological clock in participants’ brains had only moved by about 2 hours.

          The thing is, I somehow inverted day for night and my calendar was a year and a quarter behind and my sense of what year it was was a year and a quarter ahead, but my seasonal sense of what to eat craved hot foods in the Summer and cold foods in the Winter, so that might have been just 6 months off.

          In some strange way, I am a biological clock time traveler.

              1. I think I am relatively close to thinking of it as multi-Dimensional relativity of some sort, but Einstein isn’t alive to explain it to me.

                1. And if my root canal through off one of my organ biological clocks, then I have to go back and watch that video by that eye doctor who had the thing jump up his nose while he was doing eye surgery. I can’t remember his name.

    1. Attia is a well-known low carb/keto proponent who thinks saturated fat is unfairly maligned. He also has links to Virta Health, a company selling low carb/keto medical and coaching services

      Greg appears to be doing his usual low carb/keto missionary work here.

      1. Incidentally, Attia has been pushing his low carb philosophy for a long time. Plantpositive described and discussed Attia’s claims some 5 or 6 years ago. They are worth watching before listening to Attia.

        http://plantpositive.com/display/Search?moduleId=19496100&searchQuery=attia

        Whether Attia’s statements about fasting are any more reliable than his claims about macronutrients, I wouldn’t know.

        [BTW he is not to to be confused with another Peter Attia who is a relatively well-known cardiologist. Who also holds some unorthodox beliefs]

  13. Dr. Greger, science worldwide has switched to the metric system.
    Is it reasonable that Nutritionfacts.org which bases its activities on scientific papers is still using the “unscientific” non-metric in the video texts?

    Of the approximately 200 countries in the world, 197 have switched to the metric system, the SI system. Only 3 countries remain to convince – the United States, Burma/Myanmar (Southeast Asian) and Liberia (Africa).

    What percentage of the followers / subscribers of Nutritionfacts.org are outside the US? It’s all about increased revenues for NF as well as reaching and retaining qualified opinion makers, to spread the knowledge about plant-based food to a wider audience.
    I think, if NF wants to gain a higher scientific reputation, the metric measures should be used in the texts.

    There are good conversion calculators on the Internet. It takes a few seconds to convert “imperial units”, to great help and pleasure for thousands of followers / subscribers outside the United States.

    SUGGESTION… use the both systems… write 98.6 F / 37.0 C… 97.6 F / 36.4 C… 8 pm/20.00… 2 pounds / 0.9 kg…
    … And other examples such as 1 inch 25.4 mm)… 6 feet (6 * 30.5 cm)… 150 pounds / 45 kg…

    Please, convert as well the oz and cups in the online recipes to the metric system.
    Just do it… and you feel so good…

    I realize that Americans who have grown up with the old system have some difficulties understanding the global problems with an outdated measurement system, but you understand numbers, for example (off topic): The Mars Climate Orbiter crashed, because NASA used the metric system and a subcontracting the outdated system, which led to a navigation error. A cost of $ 328 million.

    1. I think this is an excellent suggestion. People unfamiliar with the metric system can use it as a brain training exercise.

  14. ok but 45 kg = 99 lbs approx, not 150. (68.18kg)
    I would never buy a cookbook using metric measurements, and/or weights. I moght use a recipe online though. For baking particularly, and cooking in general, I have always used Imperial measures.

    1. Weights are much more accurate in baking. I switched to weighing my dry ingredients (in grams) after watching too many seasons of the Great British Bake Off.

      I think it is a good idea to offer both ( 1 ounce/ 28 grams)….Americans need to catch up with the rest of the world and this is one small way to start.

    2. Barb, thank you for correcting my carelessness.
      I wrote 100 lbs / 45 kg at first, but changed to 150 lbs and forgot to recalculate.

      My numbers are quick approximations, because I always count in my head, except for F> C, where I want to know the exact temperature.

      1. Leo, I am the same. I was kidding.. figured it for a typo. I was raised/educated using the metric system – both actually, and automatically convert one to the other in my head. Your suggestion is a good one since so many have always used the metric system and it makes good sense to appeal to the majority.

      2. Honestly, Leo,

        I am not against him putting things in the metric system, but my eyes went crazy trying to read the back and forth and I honestly would get confused with both being there at the same time.

        The metric system isn’t hard. Neither is measuring with the Imperial system.

        It is translating back and forth that is hard.

        1. Deb, you have a brilliant brain and a good heart, I really mean it. Ask your eyes to calm down. Everything will be alright!

          However, as a kind of metric freak by growing up in a metric country, I want to reveal a secret to you.
          My thumb is exactly 1 inch wide (25.4 mm) at the cuticle level. Why this fate?

          1. Smiling at your built-in inch ruler.

            I have a half-inch thumbnail, so I can double it for measuring.

            My feet aren’t quite a foot, but I can walk across a room and understand how many feet the room is.

            That is what I like about Imperial measures.

  15. How can I work out the publication bias problem for any query? The thing about blood pressure meds working better at bed time. I’d like to find out whether there’s publication bias on something like that.

    1. Hi, Arthur! Publication bias can be very difficult to identify, because it means that studies not showing effects desired by researchers or their sponsors are not published. Even among experts, there is debate on the best way to identify publication bias. More on that here: https://www.nature.com/news/tool-for-detecting-publication-bias-goes-under-spotlight-1.21728 Unless you are a statistician, I think it is going to be difficult for you to find it yourself. You might be interested in this Cochrane review, if you have not already seen it: https://www.medpagetoday.com/upload/2011/10/10/CD004184-2.pdf I hope that helps!

      1. Yes. I once had quite some extensive data that showed that several inflammatory markers I looked at weren’t changed in my experiments. The reviewers of the paper I submitted, as well as the editor of the journal, let me know that these ‘no effect data’ had to be removed before the other results could be published. I just listed the compounds and included them in a graph, so space wasn’t an issue. What a joke ‘science’ can be.

  16. For people interested in the wider topic of meal timing and health, it might be worth reading the AHA’s 2017 scientific advisory statement on meal timing and CVD prevention

  17. I agree with the guidance contained in this video, but for years I’ve struggled with something that’s not addressed here: waking up from hunger after 4-5 hours of sleep. It was an issue before I was eating plant-based, and it’s continued to be an issue since going plant-based nearly four years ago. I am otherwise healthy, don’t drink alcohol at all, and exercise regularly (in the morning or middle of the day). I typically need to eat something quite substantial just before going to bed (around 10:30 or 11) in hopes of making it through the night. I’d greatly prefer not to be eating this way (and not waking up in the middle of the night), but I haven’t found a solution yet. Any thoughts and suggested remedies would be welcome!

    1. Lance, I’m WFPB for 6 yrs – small female. If I don’t go to bed in time (stay up past 9:30 or 10), I will get very hungry and can’t fall asleep due to hunger. (I guess too many hours have passed since dinner at 6PM.) Then finally I get sick of laying in bed for hours not sleeping from hunger and get up for a midnight “2nd dinner”. After which I fall asleep immediately. BUT, then, when I wake up for work in the AM (or even before), I will be RAVENOUS. I am a healthy weight and do not need to lose or gain weight. If I did that too often, I imagine I would gain a lot of weight just from “2nd dinner”. Maybe you could try a different bed-time routine that allows you to wind down much earlier. Say, get off the screen at 9:30 and brush your teeth, make your lunch for tomorrow, read, say your prayers (or what have you), and put your head on the pillow by 10. Maybe you could fall asleep before the hunger cycle can start? If I go to bed at 9:30, I go to bed satisfied, sleep all night, wake up at a normal time (and not STARVING at night or AM).

    2. Hi, Lance! I think that Reluctant Vegan has some good ideas. In addition, you might look at what you are eating for dinner. Try adding some boiled or steamed potatoes to your dinner, and see if that doesn’t leave you feeling full longer. Other tweaks to improve satiety include adding some ginger to your meal: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/benefits-of-ginger-for-obesity-and-fatty-liver-disease/ Vinegar might also help to keep you satisfied: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/optimal-vinegar-dose/ I hope that helps!

  18. It seems like I picked up, from the intermittent faster line, that skipping breakfast and eating lunch is the thing to do. I wondered if, “breakfast is the best meal of the day,” had gone by the wayside, especially since Dr. Greger pointed out that was food industry mind control. I’m in the habit of eating breakfast and I’m glad to know it is still the best time to eat according to our calorie use circadian rhythm metabolism. Heck, I even eat two breakfasts and I’m going to eat my 2nd one now. Woo-hoo

    1. My cousin said that he has been eating 2 breakfasts.

      Maybe he has been eating mine.

      I do have a friend who had gone Paleo and then Keto and now she has been doing intermittent fasting and has finally lost weight skipping meals. Today, she said the most wonderful sentence, she said, “A long time ago, you used to talk about Whole Food Plant-Based and I was not at all interested and didn’t think I even could ever do it, but now I have whole days when I do just eat plant food.” She has lost 50+ pounds. Not doing WFPB perfectly, but doing it sometimes.

  19. I was looking at steam cleaners and they advertise even using them for doing dishes.

    That might be for the water-only cleaning win.

    Seems like I will be steam-cleaning my dishes and clothes to try it myself.

    I will try UV, too.

    Seems like UV will work for things I don’t want to get wet and steam will work on things where I am more wanting to get rid of odors.

    And either way, the Silvertize will be able to wipe up and hang up and never needs washing.

    It is an experiment because I have poor people who can’t afford rent and if they can’t afford rent they can’t afford anything else at all and I mean ever for the rest of their lives because once you are a little behind, that amount behind gets greater and greater.

    1. I found a steamer that isn’t plastic and doesn’t need distilled water.

      I am going to say that it is society that causes mental health issues left and right.

      I got something from John Robbins that memory foam mattresses can cause cancer.

      The fact that we have created a Princess and Pea society already and nobody can figure out which mattress to buy and after people sink thousands of dollars, they have to find another one. I didn’t buy memory foam and I am pretty sure I sleep better on the couch anyway.

      Always something to switch the logic back and forth.

      I was thinking about it with this video. A lot of my friends who follow internet logic eventually ended up at skipping breakfast but I am at the don’t skip breakfast site.

      I knew it was coming because the skipping breakfast studies on PubMed were scary.

      But the other website doctors were selling it so well and I am so glad every time anybody helps me with the logic.

      But it really does seem like there is always another curveball coming in.

      I succeeded in eating before 7 PM the past 3 nights.

      Still not eating breakfast, but a bigger lunch, and an earlier dinner.

  20. Eating one meal at breakfast versus dinner is better for weight loss, but there is a study out there expressing that eating all your calories in 1 meal raises cholesterol greater than splitting those calories up throughout the day. However, the study wasnt clear to me. I’m unsure when the participants ate their one meal (before bed or after waking?) If before bed, that could be the reason for the rise of cholesterol. If so, it remains untested if eating all your calories during breakfast is worse than splitting those calories throughout the day for cholesterol control.

    1. The one meal a day (OMD) was apparently provided within a 4-hour period in the ‘early evening’

      The OMD group also experienced higher blood pressure as well as increased cholesterol levels. The paper also observed

      ‘Studies that have attempted to determine the effects of meal frequency on biomarkers of health, such as lipid concentrations, are inconsistent. In one experimental study, healthy men were fed either 3 meals/d or 17 small snacks/d for 2 wk; subjects consuming the 17-snack diet had reductions in total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations, whereas the concentrations did not change in the subjects consuming 3 meals/d (29). Two studies also showed that omitting breakfast has harmful effects on health outcomes related to CVD (30, 31), and another study showed that this omission may reduce risk factors for CVD (32).’
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2645638/

  21. Something that has me curious about the time of day eating regimen… It has been pointed out before that adding black pepper to some (if not all) foods increase the nutrition one gets from the food. Apparently grapefruit does something similar.

    So, what if we eat our later meals with grapefruit and black pepper? Do they then become the most important meals of the day?

  22. I was wondering how could you implement this early time restricted feeding if you practice sport from 6:30pm to 7:30pm every day ?

    At the moment I eat a big lunch at noon, a medium meal at 5pm and a small protein/carb/veggies meal after workout.

    I understand that eating in the morning/noon is way better but how can you stick to it since eating and sleeping immediately after workout is mandatory (right?) for muscle recovery ?

    Thanks for your advices guys !

  23. I believe the article but right now I’m eating one meal a day and I don’t want that one meal to be alone and first thing in the morning. That leaves nothing to look forward to for the day and I’m afraid I’d be hungry and mess up by evening. But if my weight loss stalls I may have to resort to this. Maybe just certain days of the week or something.

  24. We know that AM we naturally produce more Cortisol. Nobody knows why but best guess is that its part of the waking up process. We know that Cortisol induces Insulin resistance and as such we are more insulin resistant in the morning. We know that Insulin resistance probably plays a big part in Heart disease ie T2 diabetics. Linking these together suggest that a very low carb/sugar breakfast or no breakfast would be the best option from a health point of view.

  25. This also ties into HPA axis which controls cortisol and interacts with sleep. Cortisol has a distinct circadian rhythm. It peaks ~30-45min after waking (8:30) then drops to lowest point btw 12:00-4:00 am then rises again. Hormonal imbalances can change this slightly. Cortisol stimulates hunger.

  26. If you are your least hungry at 8am, I am guessing there is an evolutionary reason for this. Same with being at your hungriest at 8pm. Listening between the words, I am thinking that if I am not looking to lose weight, eating at 8pm is good because that is when my body is most likely to be saying ‘feed me’. Again I am thinking there is a reason for this.

    Am I on the right track here?

    1. Well, I think that’s when we’re “supposed” to eat more, so we can assimilate it overnight during the anabolic phase. Of course, I can’t prove that this is more valuable. But I do think there’s an evolutionary reason we all want to eat late and not early.

      1. I don’t think we are hungrier in the evening for evolutionary reasons. I know that it is societal in my household. We are both more night owl than lark and didn’t eat breakfast before 2008. Then I had 3 years of unemployment. I quickly and unconsciously adopted a 10am and 4pm meal pattern. I was hungrier at 10am. I would rise, drink water, take care of our pets, and go outside to work in the vegetable garden before having breakfast (at least during three seasons). We never wanted food after our 4pm meal. Our bedtime became a more reasonable 11pm, I think because of the morning light exposure. I was surprised to learn that what I believed were personal biological norms were apparently artifacts of my working lifestyle. I’ve slipped back into my old ways since going back to work full-time. We are working on moving our intake back to earlier in the day because we have both had weight creep and remember feeling better when we ate early.

  27. Re-posting this comment here in the hope someone can help: Can one of the forum moderators or someone else with nutrition expertise please address the Gastropod podcast’s take on the science of skipping breakfast? Here is what they said (see https://gastropod.com/breakfast-champions/ for the original post which has links to the studies referenced in the text):

    “TO SKIP OR NOT TO SKIP

    Much has been made about the importance of a good breakfast to a healthy lifestyle. It gives you energy to start your day, according to conventional wisdom, and scientific studies conducted a decade ago had proclaimed that eating breakfast was the key to maintaining a healthy weight.

    “Breakfast skippers are plagued with well-meaning spouses, partners, family members, and friends, all insisting that they should eat something in the morning. But, according to nutrition scientist P. K. Newby, that advice was based on what’s known as observational studies, in which scientists follow groups of people and observe the outcomes. The result had seemed to indicate that people who lost weight or maintained a healthy weight ate breakfast. The problem, Newby told us, is that those studies didn’t isolate breakfast as the important factor. It could be, she says, that those who lost weight also exercised more, or one of dozens of other variables.

    “Then, last year, a group of researchers at the University of Alabama published a study that took a more rigorous look at this question. They enlisted 300 participants and randomly assigned them to eat breakfast, to skip breakfast, or to simply go about their normal routine. After 16 weeks, they found no difference in weight loss among the three groups. Meanwhile, in a similarly controlled Cornell University study, people who skipped breakfast consumed fewer calories by the end of the day. And, in a smaller study at the University of Bath, people who skipped breakfast also seem to have consumed slightly fewer calories during the day, though they then expended slightly less energy.

    “Based on this new research, the bottom line, Newby says, is this: if you’re not hungry in the morning, there’s no harm in skipping breakfast when it comes to weight management. “It’s the what that is more important than the when, when it comes to breakfast,” she says, which also means that grabbing a sugary muffin, doughnut, or other pastry, just to eat something in the morning, is a worse idea than eating nothing at all.”

  28. How is it with exercise and circadian rhythm; is it a better/worse time to exercise?
    Is it better to exercise before breakfast for fat-loss and/or a time to exercise for a better muscle increase?

    1. Hi, Lior Stefansson! As Dr. Greger wrote in his new book, How Not to Diet, for weight loss, the more exercise the better, and any time is good, but the best time to exercise for fat loss appears to be in the morning before breakfast or later in the day after at least 6 hours without eating.
      For prediabetics or diabetics wishing to enhance blood sugar regulation, the best time to exercise is after meals. The optimal exercise timing for blood sugar regulation is to begin 30 minutes after the start of a meal, and go for at least an hour.
      I think that, if you can carve out the time, the best of all might be to exercise at moderate intensity before breakfast, and then take a walk after each meal. I hope that helps!

  29. No diet will work unless you actually stick with it. Personally I have never been hungry in the morning. Eating is almost like a job. I skip lunch as well. I found that hot vegetable broth with spices cure the sensation of hunger. My results with fasting first on a ketogenic diet and now plant based have been outstanding. 180 to 145. It happened over time like magic. Size 38 waist to about 30. Now I come home and slowly eat apples and oranges until I feel satisfied. Then eat dinner unlimited.

    There is a social aspect to dinner as well. Seriously if your married with children how long are you going to skip dinner? Fasting works anytime my friend. Jason Fung a medical doctor that runs a fasting clinic full time covers the topic well. Fasting over long periods allows access to fat stores by reducing insulin levels. There are health benefits as well.

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