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Lizzie Wilmot

This is the healthiest time to eat breakfast, according to Tim Spector


You've heard it before and you'll hear it again, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. The NHS even strongly recommends not skipping breakfast, especially as it can help you get the nutrients you need for good health. What you decide to eat for breakfast is a different story, but it's generally suggested that consuming something is better than nothing at all. 

That being said, a lot of people can get confused about when they should be eating their first meal of the day. In a world full of intermittent fasting and weight loss methods, it can be hard knowing what works for your body and what aligns with your own fitness goals, so it's always useful to hear directly from a nutritionist. 

Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London and founder of the Zoe nutrition programme, recently shared his own opinion with the BBC. Like the NHS, his response refers to the idea of skipping breakfast as unhelpful, but his advice about the healthiest time to eat breakfast may baffle you. 

Tim Spector (Image credit: Tim Spector / Zoe)

What time should you eat breakfast?

In response to this question, Professor Spector maintains that everyone is different when it comes to their nutrition. "Some people are programmed to prefer eating earlier in the day and others later, which might suit our unique personal metabolism. We need to move away from this one-size-fits-all advice", he says.  

Professor Spector goes on to share that leaving 12-14 hours between your last meal of the previous day and first meal of the following day is the best route to take. This means an early breakfast is ideal for those who eat dinner earlier on, and a late breakfast is best for those who have dinner later into the evening. 

He says that this routine is high beneficial to your gut bacteria, especially as it "allows your gut lining to clean up the debris from the night before"

"The more they do this, the stronger your gut wall is, and [this] appears to help your immune defences."

Interested in more? Check out the 4 reasons why your breakfast choice is giving you the afternoon slump.

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