How Many Hours Should You Wait Between Meals?

By: Sr vini

If you work, then surely you have developed an eating routine as per your office routine, like breakfast at 8:30 and then lunch at 1:30, and then dinner when you get home and are ready for dinner. But did you know, according to experts, there is a time frequency between your meals, which is ideal & can be healthy for you? So, how many hours should you wait between meals?

According to Doctors and Nutritionists, it is ideal to wait between three to five hours for your next meal. During this time, the stomach content gets emptied into the small intestine, and you get ready for your next meal. The time duration is also ideal for keeping your blood sugar levels in check, which depend on your meal intake. 

Let’s get to know more about the ideal time duration between meals and how the less or more times between meals can affect you. 

How Many Hours Should You Wait Between Meals?

With so much conflicting information available, it can be difficult to determine when to eat. But according to, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at the School of Allied Health Professions at LLU, Dr. Edward Bitok, MD, MS, RDN, recommends that the interval between meals be between three and five hours.

This waiting period is optimal because it corresponds to the typical time required for the stomach to empty its contents into the small intestine following a standard meal.

Waiting this long will also ensure that a genuine appetite has returned to sustain the body, as opposed to eating out of habit or in response to emotions.

In addition, the amount of time between meals has a direct effect on blood sugar management. Your blood sugar could be constantly raised in this case if you ate every two hours. Consistently high blood sugar levels can have long-term health consequences.

So in order to keep blood sugar and other issues in check, you should wait for three to five hours for the next meal. 

What if you don’t wait long enough between meals?

If you take your meals in less than three hours, then you can have a spike in blood sugar, weight gain, and other digestive problems. If you do not wait long enough between meals, you may experience problems that can harm your vascular system and cause you to gain weight.

Only two hours between meals can result in high blood glucose levels. This is because the first meal’s glucose peak will superimpose on the second meal’s glucose peak, resulting in a larger glucose peak.

This can result in high blood glucose levels, slowly deteriorating the vascular system. Furthermore, not waiting long enough adds more calories to the digestive process than is necessary. So, if you want to avoid this, wait three to five hours between meals.

What if you wait too long enough between meals?

Even the long time gap between meals, like more than five hours, can affect your digestive system and health. A six to eight-hour gap between meals can have a negative impact on your daily routine. You’ll feel shaky, irritated, and short on energy if you don’t eat enough, and this might lead to overeating.

Then you will try to overeat to compensate. But, overeating to compensate for lack of calories can lead to nausea, bloating, and weariness because you are more likely to ignore your body’s satiety cues when you eat too quickly.

Also, waiting too long may potentially result in long-term health problems, such as low blood sugar levels.

What is the ideal time to eat your meals?

Breakfast: Breakfast breaks the overnight “fast.” An empty tank can leave you exhausted and craving candy or chips by mid-morning. Instead, within an hour of waking, eat breakfast. So, breakfast doesn’t become a mid-morning snack or nibbling before lunch.

Lunch: Lunch should be eaten between four and five hours after breakfast. If you ate breakfast at 8 a.m., eat lunch between 12 a.m. and 1 p.m. If you cannot eat lunch until 2 p.m. on a particular day, plan a snack between those two meals.

Dinner: Make sure there is no more than a four- to five-hour gap between lunch and dinner so that you don’t overeat at night. Because it’s not always possible to have supper around 4 or 5 p.m, some people will have to have a snack in between lunch and dinner.

Bottom Line

So this was all about how many hours should you wait between meals. You need to wait at least three to five hours between meals. Surely you can eat some snacks, but try to keep them healthy and not as heavy as you cannot eat the next meal. 

We hope this article was helpful & informative. Please leave your valuable thoughts & suggestions in the comments below!

Thank you for reading!

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