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What you eat is just as important as when you eat

April 08, 2016

When it comes to health, what you eat matters more than when, right? Yes, said Maya Carter, MD, a family medicine doctor at Duke Primary Care Wake Forest. But in today’s grab-and-go world, the timing of meals can make a difference.

Eat protein and whole grains for breakfast

Consider breakfast, the meal that’s often skipped. “Eating a good breakfast helps you get moving and improves your concentration and performance,” said Dr. Maya Carter, MD, a Duke primary care doctor. “It also revs your metabolism.” 

Carter recommended a morning meal that combines protein and whole grains. “Protein helps keep muscles lean and makes you less hungry over the next four hours so you don’t overeat at lunch,” she explained. “Whole grains aid with digestion, improve cholesterol and reduce colon cancer risk.” 

Late-night noshing can also be a weight wrecker. “When people eat very late, it doesn’t allow them to burn off the calories,” Carter said. A heavy meal before bed also impairs the body’s sleep-wake cycle, which makes sleep less restful and raises your blood sugar. That can increase your risk for diabetes and heart disease

Bottom line?

While what you eat is extremely important, it pays to get the timing right, too. 

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