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Breakfast or Late-Night Snacks — Which Should You Give Up?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

timing of food intake

Story at-a-glance -

  • Evidence shows that calories are burned differently when they are consumed at breakfast or late at night; breakfast is better
  • More energy is stored, and less fat is burned when you eat a late-night snack, which contributes to weight management challenges
  • Several factors contribute to weight loss, and being within normal weight doesn't necessarily mean you're healthy
  • The terms "metabolically obese normal-weight" and "skinny-fat" describe individuals who are normal weight, but whose bodies operate as though they were metabolically fat
  • A combination of cyclical ketosis with intermittent fasting helps support mitochondrial health and lowers your risk of several chronic diseases

It’s important to not only pay attention to what you eat, but also when you eat. In past years, experts have made numerous dietary recommendations, including eating three full meals a day, grazing throughout the day, eating a high-protein snack at night and following a low-fat diet. Despite changing recommendations, the number of overweight and obese individuals continues to climb.

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people who are obese nearly tripled from 1975 to 2016. In 2016, 39% of people 18 years and older were overweight. Unfortunately, in 2018 this health hazard affected 40 million children under the age of 5.


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