3 meals per day: when, why, how many?

By | 2007-12-03

Korean lunch Last Saturday I was invited to a Korean lunch. It was delicious, but we had it at 12h, when I usually have lunch at 14:30 or 15h. This shift of 3 hours made me feel sleepy around 20h, when I decided to move forward my dinner, usually at 22h. During the whole evening I was wandering what are the correct times for the 3 meals…

I know that Spanish schedule for the meals are a bit weird for the rest of the world: we usually have breakfast at 8h, sometimes a second breakfast at 10h, lunch at 14h or 15h, and dinner from 21h onwards. This is probably due to our time zone: we use the Central European Time, but we are quite West from the center of Europe. So this implies we have sunsets later than the rest of Europe, and this could be the reason for this lunch-time and dinner-time shifts. But which are the best times to have lunch and dinner?

It’s more, think about the amount of food. We (Spaniards) are used to having a heavy lunch, just the opposite of most countries in Europe, where they have dinner as the largest meal of the day. A lot of dietitians say that the heaviest meal should be breakfast, but we don’t follow this suggestion (and in my case, I can’t eat anything for up to 2 hours after waking up).

Maybe they should study the energy we use during the day, and draw some graphics, to find the optimal times for meals, the amount of meals per day, and the correct amount/type of food. It’s like a big equation. I’m sure they have done these studies, but: 1- I can’t find any useful one using Google, and 2- most of the people are too bound to their cultural ways of eating. But we can’t take our diet lightly, “we are what we eat”. And it’s almost certain that we are quite far from our optimal way… how can we optimize our lives without thinking about a thing we have 3 times per day. Doesn’t this worry you?

3 thoughts on “3 meals per day: when, why, how many?

  1. JJC


    As a matter of fact, these eating times and patterns are not exceptional. They are unusual in Europe, but there are other parts of the world that have very similar eating times to those in Spain.

    In my view, there are several factors, which you mention above. Our choice is how much weight we give to those factors in order to choose the right time for our meals.

    Just a couple of links:

  2. Ruben

    Too much free time Julio? What about an sgf-hex viewer!? Then I can get you a good meal 🙂

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