The common advice is that people should eat large breakfasts (that are supposed to support energy for the whole day), medium-sized dinners and lunches, and to reduce supper to only a snack and eat it no later than a few hours before going to bed (late or large suppers are accused for causing obesity and reducing sleep quality).

To be honest, I fail to understand this advice. My thinking is that:

  • Digestion isn’t instant; early and small suppers will fail to provide energy for the mornings, and the body will only be able to use energy from the breakfast after a few hours, so however large the breakfasts are, following this advice will make you powerless in the mornings (and put you in need to drink a lot of coffee);
  • For the same reason (that digestion isn’t instant) late and large suppers will not make you fat, but instead will provide you energy for the morning.
  • As the ancient Romans were saying, ‘plenus venter non studet libenter’. Indeed, being full makes many people, me including, very sleepy. Following this advice would make it necessary to ignore the signs your body sends to you.
  • Conversely, it is very hard to fall asleep when hungry. And even if I manage to achieve this goal, I often tend to wake up far too early, because my hunger wakes me up.

And, most importantly,

  • This advice seems to oppose natural instincts: both little children and animals sleep when full, and wake up and become active later on. Unlike human adults, little children and animals follow their insticts and do what the ‘nature’ or evolution ‘wants’ them to do. Following this advice means that one has to force themselves to do the opposite; it would seem that doctors who advice to eat large breakfasts and small and early suppers want to be ‘wiser’ than the evolution.

Where am I wrong? Why does the advice to eat large breakfasts and small and early suppers advice hold?

Disclaimer: I am actually not advocating here that we should eat large and late suppers and small breakfasts. I understand that in spite of my way of thinking and my feelings it still may be the case that eating small and early suppers and large breakfast is most optimal. It is just that when my thinking leads me to results that may apparently be wrong, I would very much like to see where my error lies.


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