Timing Your Food

Theories abound about timing your food to maximize the benefits of your nutrition. If you are a gym rat (no offense), you may believe that consuming a carbohydrate just before your work out or a protein shake after your work out will somehow miraculously make a significant difference to you. Others swear by the science of eating six meals a day or even just boring three meals a day at a regular schedule. Is there any truth to any of these beliefs or is it only someone trying to market a solution to you? Let us try and find out.

Eating at regular times seems to be beneficial. If for no other reason than the fact that your body generates enzymes that help you digest your food. The regularity of meals helps your body produce these enzymes at roughly the same time. The six meal theory was based on the science that eating large meals creates an imbalance in your calorie intake and requirement and more specifically the ability of your body to consume sugar at one go. Breaking up your meals apparently helped your body by providing midget sized meals to digest. If there is any science to this, it is only in the size of the meal, emphasis “small.” If you eat only one meal but appropriately proportioned and balanced, it would achieve the same thing. So a six-meal plan is just a hack to trick your body.

If you are convinced that eating before and after a work out helps, do read the science. The jury is still out there. If you cycled for eight hours, then, of course, you need to replenish glycogen and amino acids. Instead, if you went for a brisk walk, chances are it won’t matter if you don’t eat afterward. The carbs or protein will not help you build extra muscle; sorry to disappoint. So really, just eat when you feel like but eat healthily and you will be fine.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.