Asian women snacking on street food, looks like fried tenticles

Does it matter when you eat?

Separate food fibs from food facts

Scientists previously believed that the time of day you ate did not affect your weight or overall health in any way. However, more recent research suggests that consuming the majority of your daily calories in the evening may be detrimental to your glycaemic (blood sugar) control, leading to weight gain, insomnia and other mental and physiological problems.


During the month of Ramadan, Muslims will fast throughout daylight hours, avoiding food, water, smoking and even chewing gum! Those participating in Ramadan will wake up early to eat breakfast so that their body has enough glucose to power them through the day, and will then feast in the evening with their families.

While this may not sound like a healthy exercise, many nutrition scientists believe that fasting like this does not pose a threat to healthy people, providing they pay attention to what they eat for breakfast and any signs of dehydration.

Such religious fasting is not uncommon. Jewish people will fast for 25 hours through Yom Kippur, and Orthodox Christians can spend up to six months fasting in various forms. 

Lead image:

Samuel Huron/Flickr CC BY NC ND


About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Food and Diet’ in June 2011 and reviewed and updated in August 2016.

Health, infection and disease
Food and Diet
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development