What you eat is not the only important factor when trying to stay healthy, recent studies show that timing also plays a huge role. Eating at the wrong time can put you on the path to many diseases including diabetes and obesity. In this article, we, examine the optimum times for eating to keep not only your liver healthy, but your whole body.


What’s in this article

  • Importance of timing
  • When to eat
  • Tips for getting into a regular eating pattern


Importance of timing
According to the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) when and how often you eat might affect your risk of developing a ‘fatty liver’. Have you ever skipped lunch because of a busy work schedule or not had enough time to eat breakfast during the morning rush?

A recent publication by Proceedings of the Nutrition Society suggest that it’s not restricted to what you eat, but also when you eat that affects your health. Having irregular meals could cause obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes and that is regardless of how many calories you are consuming.

Just like the rest of the body, your liver follows a 24-hour internal clock or ‘circadian rhythm’. The timing of when you eat a meal is thought to be a cue that keeps the liver in time with the 24-hour day.

Modern society has seen a growing number of people working nights or staying up much later than before, which often upsets ‘normal’ sleeping and eating patterns,” states James Philip G. Esteban, MD; fellow, Gastroenterology and Hepatology; Medical College of Wisconsin.


When to eat
Now that we know the importance of timing we can look at exactly when you should be eating in order to support your liver health. Dr. Esteban’s team from the previous study analyzed data from 9,015 adults throughout the United States in 1988-1994. The study showed that when distributing the day’s calories into more meals per day there were lower odds of having fatty liver and significant fibrosis. This likelihood decreased by 10 percent for every added meal. Participants who did not have any meals from 4am to 10am and 10am to 4pm had 20 percent and 73 percent higher odds of fatty liver. Therefore, it is best to eat smaller meals regularly, not skip any meals and not eat late at night.


Tips for getting into a regular eating pattern

  1. Planning is key, plan your meal times in advance, try to stick to your plan and it will become easier as time goes on.
  2. If you struggle to have breakfast or make time then take something for on the way to work, a piece of fruit or an Amsety Bar make for the perfect on the go breakfast.
  3. Prepare your meals in advance. Making your meals ahead of time will not only help you remember to eat but will also save you money.

Find out more about the basics of liver health with Dr. Tarek Hassanein, M.D.