How Eating At Certain Times Of Day Disrupts The Body

Everyone is usually on their own schedule, so it can be difficult to plan out the perfect times to eat throughout the day. It’s important to know that the time of day people eat can have a strong effect on their health. Find out the ideal times for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and much more.

The Best Time For Breakfast

According to Forklift and Palate, the best time for people to eat breakfast is within the first hour of waking.

breakfast set up with waffles, pancakes, berries, orange juice, and avocado toast
Rachel Park/Unsplash
Rachel Park/Unsplash

This helps the body get ready for a successful day. The ideal time for breakfast would be between six and 10 a.m. in order for them to be able to have a second meal a few hours later.

The Worst Time For Breakfast

Those who eat breakfast should not eat past an hour of waking up or later than 10 a.m. The body needs time to adjust before having an entire meal, so eating too late won’t provide enough time between breakfast and lunch.

waffle stack with blueberries and red berries
Yoori Koo/Unsplash
Yoori Koo/Unsplash

Shauna Sacco, a registered dietician and personal trainer, says that breakfast is also the worst time to eat refined carbohydrates.

The Best Time For Lunch

A journal from Northwestern Medicine found that the best time to eat lunch is about four to five hours after breakfast.

person eating a salad
Louis Hansel/Unsplash
Louis Hansel/Unsplash

For example, if someone ate breakfast at seven in the morning, they should eat lunch between 11 a.m. and noon. Those who have to wait longer should have a snack in between meals.

The Worst Time For Lunch

It’s important to be careful when eating at certain times of the day. Those who are going to eat lunch shouldn’t eat too close or too far away from when they had breakfast.

man holding a burger
Sander Dalhuisen/Unsplash
Sander Dalhuisen/Unsplash

A recent study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said people should really try to eat lunch before three in the afternoon.

The Best Time For Dinner

According to Forklift and Palate, the best time for people to eat dinner is approximately four to five hours after they ate lunch.

young woman eating a pesto pasta dish at a restaurant
Pablo Merchán Montes/Unsplash
Pablo Merchán Montes/Unsplash

This should ideally fall between five and six p.m. This is because after this time, the body’s metabolic rate starts to slow down. The longer the body goes without food before bed, the better.

The Worst Time For Dinner

Leigh Weingus from the Huffington Post wrote that eating dinner too late changes sleep in a negative way.

cheeseburger against a black background
Delfina Cocciardi/Unsplash
Delfina Cocciardi/Unsplash

“Being too full could negatively impact our sleep by possibly leading to acid reflux. If there’s too much food digesting in your stomach and you lie down, it could potentially put pressure on your esophageal sphincter, resulting in unpleasant reflux,” said registered dietician Tracy Lockwood Beckerman.

The Best Time To Snack

Snacking can get addictive, so it’s crucial to know the dos and don’ts of having a small bite to eat.

pretzels on a lime green background
Markus Winkler/Unsplash
Markus Winkler/Unsplash

According to Sarah-Jane Bedwell at Self, people should snack anytime they are going more than four hours between meals. Going longer than four hours without eating can actually slow your metabolism.

The Worst Time To Snack

A recent study from The Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that dieters who ate a snack between breakfast and lunch would also snack later in the day.

man and woman having a snack
Junior Reis/Unsplash
Junior Reis/Unsplash

This means it may be better to skip snacking during this time and plan out breakfast and lunch to be less than four hours apart.

The Best Time To Drink Coffee

According to Greatist, the best time for people to drink coffee is between mid and late morning. This will give them peak daytime performance.

man driving and drinking coffee
Darren Holden/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
Darren Holden/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Those who drink coffee in the afternoon need to have at least six hours afterward where they can burn off the caffeine before they go to sleep.

The Worst Time To Drink Coffee

While some people have to drink coffee the second they wake up, it can actually be negatively impacting their health.

Sofia Vergara and Mario Lopez drinking coffee
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Time and YouTube science channel ASAP Science reported that the early morning is one of the worst times of day to drink coffee. There are high levels of cortisol in our bodies during this time. Adding caffeine can cause stress and low blood glucose.

The Best Time To Eat Fruit

Fruit can decrease the risk of heart disease, maintain blood pressure, and protect against cancer-causing cells.

woman eating an apple
Matt Seymour/Unsplash
Matt Seymour/Unsplash

Upasana Mani at Be Body Wise suggests that people should eat fruit on digested empty stomachs in the morning. This will help them gain energy, become active, and be better prepared for a productive day.

The Worst Time To Eat Fruit

People should not eat fruit before they go to sleep. Nighttime is the worst part of the day to eat fruit because it can increase blood sugar levels.

woman biting into a lemon
Engin Akyurt/Unsplash
Engin Akyurt/Unsplash

When blood sugar levels are increased, it causes the body to stay awake longer. Fruits are healthy at any time of day, but try to avoid them before bed.

The Best Time To Eat Meat

Jennifer Lawrence’s personal trainer, Dalton Wong, has some tips for when people should eat meat.

medium rare meat on top of a salad
Jason Leung/Unsplash
Jason Leung/Unsplash

He recommends that people eat meat in either their breakfast or lunch. This allows the body the rest of the day to properly break down the contents of the meat. High-protein foods need extra time to digest.

The Worst Time To Eat Meat

Wong goes on to say that eating meat at dinner will cause the body to go into overdrive to break down the protein for digestion.

emerson-vieira-cpkPJ-U9eUM-unsplash
Unsplash/Emerson Vieira
Unsplash/Emerson Vieira

Lisa Moskovitz, a registered dietician and the CEO of NY Nutrition Group, states it’s important to note how much meat you are eating, how active you are at night, and other factors in your schedule before you consume it past lunchtime.

The Best Time To Eat Dairy

According to The Sun, the best time to consume dairy products is between 10:30 and 11 a.m. Consuming cheese, yogurt, or milk can have useful health benefits.

woman drinking a glass of milk through a straw
The Humble Co./Unsplash
The Humble Co./Unsplash

Many dairy products are rich in calcium and high in protein, which are needed for muscle growth and repair. Eating dairy in the morning can help support movement.

The Worst Time To Eat Dairy

For many, dairy products can cause significant digestive issues, which can get worse depending on the time of day they are consumed.

English red leicester hard ripened cheese
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

The absolute worst time of day to eat dairy is at night. Not only will it cause digestive issues, but it can disrupt sleep as well. Try to eat dairy when you’ll have enough hours in the day to let it digest comfortably.

The Best Time To Drink Water

Water is something that people should be drinking every day. According to Setu, one of the best times to drink water is right when you wake up.

young woman drinking from a reusable water bottle
Bindle Bottle/Unsplash
Bindle Bottle/Unsplash

After sleeping for seven to nine hours, the body will get dehydrated, so drink at least two glasses of water after waking up.

The Worst Time To Drink Water

While drinking water is essential, there can be times when it can lead to bloating, improper digestion, and more.

man drinking from a water bottle
Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images
Theo Wargo/WireImage/Getty Images

Avoid drinking water while eating or right after eating because it can dilute digestive fluids that can prevent the body from properly absorbing nutrients. Also, try not to gulp water down because it can put a strain on your kidneys.

The Best Time To Eat Carbs

While carbs aren’t necessarily the healthiest part of the average diet, there are certain times throughout the day they can safely be consumed.

toast on a toast rack
Seriously Low Carb/Unsplash
Seriously Low Carb/Unsplash

Healthline suggests that people eat carbs in the morning because it will be easier for them to burn the fat from them for the remainder of the day.

The Worst Time To Eat Carbs

While carbs can provide the body with energy, they shouldn’t be eaten at all hours of the day.

slice of greasy pepperoni pizza
Amirali Mirhashemian/Unsplash
Amirali Mirhashemian/Unsplash

Registered dietician Morgyn Clair tells her clients to limit carbohydrates at least two to three hours before they go to bed. Carbs provide energy and your body won’t need them while it’s in rest. This can lead to them being stored as fat.