If you typically eat breakfast at 8:00 am, you’ve set an appointment with your stomach, liver, pancreas, etc., and they will be ready to process the breakfast at 8:00. This first bite is also on of your clock’s links to the outside world: breakfast becomes the cue that syncs the internal clock with the outside time. As long as you eat breakfast at 8:00 (give or take a few minutes), your internal clock will be in sync with the outside world.
But imagine that one day you have to get up early to catch a flight from Melbourne to Perth. Instead of eating at 8:00 a.m., you “need” to eat at 6:00: After all you’ve been taught that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day.” When you sit down in front of your cereal bowl, you’ll notice that you’re stomach to get the digestive juices ready to process your food. Your liver and the rest of your organs aren’t ready, either.
But no matter: You know best, so eat anyway. With the first bite, your stomach will switch on its emergency mode and process the food. The body has to drop everything it is supposed to do at 6:00 a.m. and turn its attention to the incoming food. Or it can ignore your food and it will stay undigested for a couple of hours. Typically, the body chooses the first option: it stops its usual before-breakfast activities, which include cleansing itself and running on stored energy. So, when the early breakfast appears, the body has to stop cleaning up and turn off the fat-burning switch so it can use the fresh food that you just ate as food.
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