“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
It just sounds right.
But really, it’s just a marketing ploy invented by James Jackson and John Kellogg to sell a new product known as “breakfast cereal.”
Nearly a century later, the old trope can still be heard from moms trying to get their children to finish their breakfast.
Before Kellogg started pitching corn flakes from his sanitarium treatment facility, breakfast looked like any other meal of the day… last night’s leftovers, beefsteak and roasted chicken were staples.
But during the Industrial Revolution, people transitioned from farm labor to more sedentary jobs in offices and factories. Those heavy breakfasts got blamed for a new condition called dyspepsia.
You know it as indigestion. And it was the 1800s equivalent to the current obesity situation. Magazines and newspapers brimmed with half-boiled solutions.
Americans were hungry for a lighter breakfast… one that wouldn’t cause acid reflux, heartburn, bloating or gas.
What they got was cereal. And thanks to some clever marketing, it became the most important meal of the day.
But the truth is there is no hierarchy of meals.
In fact, the most important part of any meal just might be when you eat it.
Don’t Skip a Beat
In the latest issue of Manward Letter Health, I shared with you how our bodies are ruled by our circadian rhythm. [Editor’s Note: If you’re not a subscriber, check out some of our latest research here.]
It regulates critical functions in the body like hormone levels, blood pressure and metabolism.
Disrupting our circadian rhythm can do real damage to the body. It’s been shown to lead to weight gain, poor decision making, impulsive behavior and impaired cognitive function.1
Breaking the rhythm also increases the risk of heart disease and cancer.2
And the list goes on…
Not following our internal clock can also lead to depression and gastrointestinal disorders… and make the whole endocrine system fall out of whack.3
Besides daylight, the most powerful synchronizer of circadian rhythm is when we eat.
Eating provides temporal cues to our body that work in sync with when we’re exposed to natural light.
So timing when we eat comes with a whole host of benefits beyond just feeding our body nutrients.
That’s why I recommend following what I call the “circadian diet.”
Time It Right
Modern conveniences afford us with a virtually unlimited window of eating opportunities. Microwaves, pre-made meals and an endless supply of snacks lead many of us to eat nearly all day long.
Think about it. Most of us eat within an hour or so of waking up. And then we eat our meals and graze practically right up to the point we go to bed.
The circadian diet is all about timing and consistency.
First, you should wake up and go about your day for a few hours before eating. That’s because cortisol levels, testosterone, heart rate and blood pressure all peak first thing in the morning. Let your body come down from these highs before eating.
Then around 7 p.m., our cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin levels all peak. And that’s about when we should be done eating for the day – about three hours before bedtime. This will give the body plenty of time to digest… and ample time to prepare for a good night of sleep.
And second, by restricting what you eat to specific times every day, you’ll establish a schedule that your body will adapt to in as little as two or three days.4
In turn, it will optimize every aspect of how the body deals with food.
It will be better at processing nutrients…
Better at flushing out toxins…
Better at burning fat…
Better at controlling blood sugar levels…
And better at developing muscle mass. 5, 6, 7, 8
The best part of the circadian diet is that it doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your diet… limit foods… or count calories.
Aligning your diet with your circadian rhythm is a simple and easy way to optimize the way your whole body functions.