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Our lives are characterised by repeating cycles in our environment, behaviour and physiology. In particular, with each passing day and night we experience regular transitions between light and dark, wakefulness and sleep, activity and rest - that may or may not be aligned with our daily meal patterns. There are various opportunities to eat or not to eat over the course of each 24-h period, each with the potential to improve or impair metabolic health.

This talk will consider the typical series of eating occasions from shortly after waking on one day until shortly before waking on the next. Specifically, we will firstly consider the metabolic consequences of skipping breakfast, both in terms of how regularly fasting during the morning may alter body composition and in terms of the acute effect of a morning meal on metabolic control later in the day (i.e. the ‘second-meal effect’ at lunch). We will then explore how transitions between the fed- and fasted-state in mid-afternoon impact the pattern of physical activity throughout the day and therefore the efficacy of alternate-day fasting for weight-loss. Moving into the evening, we will discuss the metabolic effects of pre-sleep protein ingestion on overnight endocrine responses, along with the effects of waking during the night and ingesting protein during the early hours of the morning on next-day metabolic control. Finally, we will circle back to breakfast and question the effects of consuming coffee upon waking. Thinking about a complete sequence of daily meals in this manner will reveal the potential to harness nutrient timing as a tool for improved human health.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

This webinar has been endorsed by the Association for Nutrition (AfN) (EN175).