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When is the best time to have a cheat meal?

When is the best time of the day to treat yourself? Experts weigh in.

cheat mealFind out the good time to have a cheat meal (but not too often) (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Cheat meals. We all want them. Rather, we all need them. When the stresses of life catch up with you, a meal with your favourite treat is just the right solace. Pooja Makhija, certified nutritionist recently talked about the best time to cheat on your diet or to enjoy a treat, on her Instagram page. 

She posted a reel with the answer: the best time to cheat on your diet is the first half of the day. 

Why?

“This is known as the power of chronobiology. Your body burns twice as much more at 8 AM versus 8 PM. So, this is what brings the breakfast debate to a full circle. It is always better to eat your breakfast than skip it especially if you are on time-restricted eating. So, while what you eat matters, when you eat also matters more,” she said in her post. 

 

Craving those chocolate chip pancakes with butter and maple syrup? Go for it, but have it for breakfast or brunch. Craving that yummy cheese dosa? Make it a breakfast treat. Perhaps you’re someone that cannot eat as soon as they wake up. However, plan your day in a way that you can consume the heavier calorie meals in the first half of the day, instead of during a meal like dinner.

Karishma Shah, integrative nutritionist and health coach also shed light on how to indulge in the occasional treat while managing your health and weight.

“I think pre-workout or post workout are the best times to eat something with more calories, because it helps you then to metabolise that treat really quickly into your blood stream and it doesn’t raise your insulin levels that much. When some doesn’t workout and has a pancake for breakfast — one of the ways to convert that cheat feeling into a treat feeling would be to go on a quick walk after consuming the food. Do a 15 minute or 30-minute brisk walk after eating the treat, as it will help balance your sugar levels,” she said.

According to Cleveland Health Clinic, “To maintain health, eat healthy food 80 per cent of the time, and allow yourself 20 per cent wiggle room (by practicing portion control.)”

Dietician Garima Goyal also weighs in and talks about the best time of the day to cheat on your diet.
“Research has shown that having a heavy breakfast and a light dinner aids in weight loss. Eating a heavier meal in the evening increases the risk of obesity, central obesity, and raises the fasting sugar levels and HbA1c, leading towards metabolic syndrome,” she explained.

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She also speaks about how the body’s metabolism is significantly quicker during the day than at night time. So heavy meals totally disrupt the digestive system giving it a tough time to digest the food at night — leading to acidity. Thus, it’s important to prioritise your health and try to have that sugar and fat calorie loaded meal during the day, rather than at night.

Remember, it’s really all about balance and moderation. Giving your body what it craves while also keeping your health in check is the key to good health.

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First published on: 10-12-2022 at 11:25 IST
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