Romper Magazine wants to know- How soon should you eat after waking up? Is the answer different for everyone?

By: Dr. Keith Kantor

The answer is different for everyone. I am a believer in intermittent fasting for the health benefits and ability to lose weight safely for most of the population. Intermittent fasting is associated with improved blood sugar levels; it also trains our metabolism to burn fat as a primary fuel source.   The greatest benefit of intermittent fasting is autophagy , which can be described as “self-eating.” This is a detoxification process your body undergoes to clean out damaged cells and regenerate new ones which happens during fasting. Autophagy is the natural, regulated mechanism of the cell that disassembles unnecessary or dysfunctional components. It allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components. Three forms of autophagy are commonly described: macroautophagy, microautophagy, and chaperone-mediated autophagy. Autophagy has been linked to increasing life expectancy.

To answer your question most people who practice intermittent fasting only eat within a 5-8 hour time period during the day and typically they skip breakfast and start eating around 12-1pm and stop eating between 5-8pm. So this population eats for the first time several hours after waking up. I do not recommend eating this way 100% of the time, it is good to trick your metabolism into eating at different times so I would intermittent fast most days of the week and then have a breakfast earlier in the day 1-2 times per week, this will train your body to not get used to intermittent fasting.


For those who cannot intermittent fast due to health conditions like hypoglycemia or Type 1 diabetes they should eat within 1-2 hour of waking up so they do not get low blood sugars.

High level athletes or manual labor workers should also avoid intermittent fasting because that small window of time to eat may not provide them with sufficient calories and nutrients to repair and replenish their muscles and metabolism from their high level of activity and they may lose muscle mass or suppress their immune system.


To conclude on you question each person is individual and they have to learn how to listen to their body and find what works for them. Researching different eating schedules and their health benefits and experimenting with them will allow them to find out what works for them.