What about the standard three meals a day which is entrenched into the present. In ancient times, there was often not even one meal a day depending largely on food availability. Romans ate one meal daily and considered consuming more meals gluttony. In western medieval times breakfast could not be eaten until morning mass was completed. Lunch showed up as “nuncheon”, an old Anglo-Saxon word which meant a quick snack. It was not regularly practiced until the 19th century.
The main meal of the day dinner became later and later as artificial lighting became available. If by happenstance the evening meal is not the biggest meal of the day, it is called supper.
The timing of meals makes a difference. Our bodies operate according to what is termed a “Circadian Rhythm” because of the alterations of a 24 hour day with hormone-induced sleep-wakefulness cycles. If you want to be convinced of its power simply remember the last jet lag you experienced! I flew to Australia once and gave a major talk to a conference there the next day. So jet-lagged, I could not have done a crossword puzzle. Thank God for slides.
Eating a late lunch, past two or three can cause a weight problem. One study showed that women who ate their major meal as breakfast rather than dinner lost weight.1 One of the strongest associations of meal timing and weight gain was a study examining the time between the last meal of the day and timing of sleep.2 So, it appears that we should logically try to eat the most earlier in the day.
1. Johnston JD. Physiological responses to food intake throughout the day. Nutrition research reviews 2014;27:107-18.
2. Reid KJ, Baron KG, Zee PC. Meal timing influences daily caloric intake in healthy adults. Nutrition research 2014;34:930-5.