Eating before dinner with TMAD

(Doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast) #1

I am doing Two Meals a Day (TMAD), skipping breakfast. I have lunch at 14h, and dinner at around 20h. I usually go to sleep at 21:30.

All recommendations I see for TRE (Satchin Panda, Delauer …) suggest to finish eating at least 3h before going to sleep, otherwise melatonin turns off insulin production at the pancreas, and glucose remains on the blood for too long.

It is simply too difficult for me to have dinner at 18h: I am not hungry, and I am still doing other things.

Could it be this TMAD is damaging me more than just doing 3 meals a day? (with a smaller dinner than with TMAD).

Or is it still better than a 3 meals a day, just not as good as an “early time restricted eating”?

(Bunny) #2

Thought this may shed some light on your question:

I do not think three meals a day is a normal way to eat as Dr. Fung pointed that out in a interview at a HVNM podcast and that it was the invention of Nestles Toll House in advertising campaigns in the early 50’s to make people buy more food?

That really shocks me to my core, when you grow up in a world that says this three meals a day is a “normal“ way to eat when it’s really not?

I try to follow my own natural instinct and only eat when I’m hungry rather than forcefully fasting (which would look like fasting to a mere observer when it’s really not) so you have to also factor into this equation physical inertia (sedentary) and exertion (exercise) because that can mimic fasting or caloric restriction.

I can go for two days at times before the hunger signaling kicks in if I’m being sedentary vs. when highly active, It kicks in sooner so you kind of get a innate feeling of balance.

(Doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast) #3

I agree with you and with Dr. Fung. I am not hungrier with TMAD than before, on the contrary.

But my question refers to eating within less than 3h before going to sleep. I know it is “not good”. But can it be measured, how bad it is (in comparison to others)?

(Bunny) #4

Here are pieces of research more specific to your question which I intend on reading also because it is really interesting:

[1] Melatonin Signaling Controls the Daily Rhythm in Blood Glucose Levels Independent of Peripheral Clocks: “…Taken together, our data suggest that the loss of the daily rhythm in blood glucose observed in MT1-/- and MT2-/- mice does not occur as a consequence of ‘disrupted’ clocks within insulin sensitive tissues. Finally our results highlight a diurnal (of or during the day) contribution of melatonin receptor signaling in the daily regulation of blood glucose levels. …”

[2] Melatonin and Pancreatic Islets: Interrelationships between Melatonin, Insulin and Glucagon: “…The study of melatonin–insulin interactions in diabetic rat models has revealed an inverse relationship: an increase in melatonin levels leads to a down-regulation of insulin secretion and vice versa. Elucidation of the possible inverse interrelationship in man may open new avenues in the therapy of diabetes. …”

[3] Research Reveals a Surprising Link Between Melatonin and Type 2 Diabetes: “… FEEDING PATTERNS:

This brings us to another potential problem.

One might reasonably speculate, from these findings, that eating when melatonin levels are relatively high – while your pancreatic beta cells are functionally “sleeping” – could result in even more pronounced disturbance of blood glucose regulation.

This may partially explain why late night eating has been found to be associated with high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), and why feeding a person a meal at 10:30pm results in prolonged high blood sugar and elevated 24 hr blood glucose levels.

However, this effect may also extend beyond just eating late at night – if you are using melatonin supplements. As we established above, elevated melatonin levels (and consequently inhibited insulin response) that result from melatonin supplementation can linger for ten hours. This could interfere with appropriate insulin response during breakfast the next morning.

This means that if you have the diabetes risk allele, you might consider eating dinner early. And, if you supplement with melatonin, you may want to ensure that you take the supplement a couple of hours after your last meal. …”


Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the brain in response to darkness. Levels are typically very low during the day and reach their peak at night. Like other hormones, melatonin works by binding to compatible receptors – kind of like a lock and key. These receptors are found abundantly in the eyes and the brain, and when melatonin binds to them, they signal that it’s dark outside. For humans, this darkness signal indicates that it is the period when we rest, so this timing signal contributes to and is a part of a cascade of other responses that help initiate and maintain sleep. Strangely enough, we now know that these receptors are also found in the pancreas – specifically in pancreatic beta cells. By releasing insulin, beta cells regulate glucose levels in the blood. We have also discovered that when melatonin activates these receptors, insulin secretion is decreased.. …”

(Doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast) #5

So, yes, the science seems clear. Eating before sleeping is “bad”. Early time restricted eating should be “better”.

But I think most people (including me) feel “late” time restricted eating is easier to implement, both for family and mental effort reasons.

So, I wonder “how bad” eating 1.5h before sleep is.

And what could be done about it. For example, what kind of food would be the least problematic. I guess fats, right?

(Give me bacon, or give me death.) #6

The point of a ketogenic diet is primarily to lower your chronic insulin levels, though there are other benefits, as well. Lowering insulin is important for many reasons, one of which is that it is the primary hormone responsible for keeping us fat, since fatty acids are trapped in our fat tissue as long as our insulin level remains high.

If you are restricting your carbohydrate intake to ketogenic levels (we recommend an upper limit of 20 grams/day), then the glucose in your bloodstream is primarily the small amount that is produced naturally in your liver. There are cells in your body that do need glucose for their survival, but the liver is capable of making the small amount necessary. You could safely eat no carbohydrate at all, and be fine.

If your schedule does not permit you to eat early enough to have a foodless period of several hours before going to sleep, then so be it. Don’t worry about it unless you are not seeing the results you want. The human body is designed to cope with fluctuations in insulin—after all, we cannot stay alive without a certain minimal amount in our blood. The problem comes with chronically elevated insulin levels (hyperinsulinaemia) which, like chronically elevated glucose levels (hyperglycaemia), cause damage to the body over time. Hence the carbohydrate restriction—carbohydrates are nothing more than long chains of glucose molecules, and glucose is what stimulates insulin production the most. Protein and fat have a much lower effect, especially in the absence of carbohydrate in the diet.

(Doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast) #7

Interesting, thank you.

I have been wondering if metformin in the evening (without being diabetic) could help with this issue.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #8

Arbre are you having sleep problems or digestive issues keeping you from sleeping? If not why worry about a concept you can’t fit to your lifestyle. I have a natural inclination towards earlier eating myself but sometimes I deviate for social reasons. Overall you’re going to be better with an earlier eating window but it’s not necessary for success. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast) #9

No, I do not have either sleep or digestive issues. On the contrary, I usually fall sleep too early, I would like to be able to “resist” awake a bit later (for social reasons).

I understand your point, and I agree. My main concern is if eating dinner 1.5h before going to sleep is going to be so bad, that it would be worthwhile to change the schedule.

But yes, I think I will continue this way, since:

  1. It is easy socially for me
  2. It is easy for me not having breakfast
  3. I do not have any clear problems out of it


I have been eating dinner at 8pm at the earliest for over 20 years and also don’t go to bed late. Have never felt its caused a problem even if I’ve gone to bed straight away after eating. Do what fits with your lifestyle unless theres a problem.

(Tamela Robinette) #11

I personally have found I can not lose weight if I eat after 5 p.m., whether it’s OMAD or 2MAD. I am menopausal so I contribute some of it to that. Melatonin does not work for me at all. I’ve tried numerous brands. I’m just broken all the way around lol. I try to eat my 2 meals in a 4 hour window when I do have 2 meals and you are correct it’s very difficult. I usually just end up eating one large meal a day.

(Joey) #12

I’m with you 100%.

I have rarely eaten more than 2 meals daily for over a decade (i.e., just lunch + dinner) in what generally falls into an 18/6 hr fast/eating window. And I’ve been eating this way long before having cut out any carbs just last summer (going “keto”).

I don’t have scientific study links at my fingertips, but here’s my n=1: Whether I fall asleep shortly after dinner, or hours later, it has seemed to make no difference to me in terms of how I feel or my general health profile. It’s all good.

Noteworthy: I used to experience frequent reflux in the middle of the night when eating carbs - regardless of how soon after dinner/dessert I went to bed. I’d wake up with the urge to vomit at 2-3 am, and it was a nasty interruption to my sleep. But immediately upon having eliminated the carbs, I have never had another reflux episode since - even eating the spiciest of hot fermented veggies - it’s been cured for almost a year now. The timing of dinner vis-a-vis subsequent bedtime has had no effect. Again, it’s all good.

My cheap advice: keep doing what you’re doing! :vulcan_salute: