Your body is made to consume food while the sun is shining and to not consume food when it's dark. That aligns with having at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast.
One option that can help you cut out your late-night snacking or dinner-then-right-to-bed habit is to consider some kind of intermittent fasting schedule. That means arranging for a chunk of hours in the day when you don’t consume anything but water, coffee, or tea.
It can improve your nutrition, superpower your energy level, help you sleep, reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes, and promote weight loss and improved HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.
Multiple studies indicate that intermittent fasting may help stimulate production of adult stem cells, particularly in the intestines and skeletal muscles, which are essential to counter the decline in bodily functions associated with aging.
So what are your choices?
1. Fast each night with at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. Want more benefits? Extend that to 14 hours, and then 18. This causes your body to burn up most circulating glucose and stabilizes insulin levels. Then your body burns stored fat.
2. Breakfast and/or lunch should contain lean and plant-based protein (think whole grains, legumes, salmon) and fats (think healthy fats in salmon, or use extra-virgin olive oil with grains and veggies). Because your body is naturally more insulin-resistant at night, avoid simple carbs after mid-day. Dinner should be plant-heavy (salad and other green, leafy veggies) and calorie-light (about 400 calories, if you need 2,000 a day to maintain a healthy weight.)
3. The Longevity Institute at USC says you can superpower your health and boost weight loss by reducing your calorie intake to 1,000 for one day, 750 for four days.
4. You may want to try eating for eight hours — say, noon to 8 p.m. daily — and fasting for 16.
5. Or you could try the two-five routine, in which you restrict your intake to 500 calories a day twice a week. Then, five days you eat a healthy, full complement of calories (that's 1,800 to 2,400 for most folks).