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Nutrient timing and time aspect of the diet

Eat when you are hungry, according to Professor Shellback’s food and sleep clock, a while after the workout is over or according to our biology, which actually looked similar since time immemorial and all ways are good in their own way. Here are some thoughts on it all.


We should fast periodically, we should eat at fixed times, it is good with snacks but the dentist must decide if the regular meals are enough, we have an ancient biology that works in a special way and where we can eat certain parts of the plate model at well-chosen occasions for a good effect on our health. Maybe common sense also works well?

Eat when you are hungry!

It is good to let the body get a little hungry and build up appetite between meals. In this way, you achieve a weight control provided that you have food available when the feelings of hunger come and that you eat so slowly that you have time to feel full without the stomach becoming stuffy. Then keep in mind that hunger can be both social and physical, so think about why you want to eat. This is an extreme simplification, of course, so you who want to dig further about hunger and satiety can read in, for example, the article Regulation of hunger and satiety in man.

Eat at regular times!

It may be more relevant for someone who goes under diet control or someone who is doing periodic fasting to keep track of the times because one avoids eating a certain number of hours per day or days per week. Otherwise, it is good to eat 3-6 times a day, make sure that the last meal of the day is a few hours before bedtime so that the stomach has time to be emptied so that sleep is good and match the meals with physical activity.

Eat snacks!

Here the camps dispute, where both camps seem to be able to show with their research that both are right. It is both good and less good with snacks.

By and large, one side of the evidence is that if you eat 2-3 solid meals with 2-3 snacks in between, your hunger and craving for food will decrease and in this way you will be able to control your weight.

The second camp, where among other things dentists seem to be included, says that it is good with 3 fixed meals, so that it takes 5-6 hours between meals for you to build hunger and (here are the dentists’ arguments) the risk of cavities in the teeth is reduced as the enamel can be softened in connection with a meal depending on what you eat.

Eat in conjunction with exercise or training sessions!

Before session

If you want to train more in the strength training direction, it is smart to eat a meal a maximum of a couple of hours before so that you have a lot of energy for the workout. That meal may contain a little more protein so that you are prepared after the workout as the window for absorption of proteins comes quite close to the end of training.

If you are more into the cardio training direction, you can think about eating a meal a little more than a couple of hours before so that the digestion has time to process it slightly, and a little closer to the workout, you can eat some lighter form of carbohydrate-rich food such as fruit (banana for example).

After session

If it is more about strength training you should train, it can be good to get in you a little more protein (meat, beans, cottage cheese or whatever it may be) within half an hour after the workout as the body is extra good at absorbing say just protein then. Remember to eat carbohydrates that are needed so that the body can absorb proteins.

If it is more in the form of cardio training, it can be good to eat most carbohydrates as those that were in muscles and in the blood are most likely used. (it’s a little more complex so the short description is to keep it simple)

Eat according to the biology we used on the plain!

There are those who discuss whether we should eat for the life we lived on the plains tens of thousands of years ago, because our biology changes much more slowly than society itself. This would mean that those who would go out and collect and hunt and first walk long distances need to get carbohydrates early in the day to be strong and later when they collected and hunted needed more carbohydrates and protein to recover and replenish energy (carbohydrates ) and building blocks (protein).

Now society looks completely different with a different range and a completely different accessibility. It will thus be a challenge to eat according to the biology that we used on the plain with the range that was available then.


There are many ways to distribute meals and snacks and perhaps it is the case that for most people common sense should prevail. So ignore the time and think more about what (remember the plate model) and how (More about challenge of the month June 2020 ) you eat, that it works for you here and now and for your long-term goals.

The more professional your venture is, the more important the times and content of what you eat and what you can take when you are there. I will get more into the science of nutrient timing at Healthier nutrition.

Finally, if you are under medical supervision due to an illness, then listen to science and follow agreements with it.