You’ve been told over and over again that eating at night (after 10 pm) will make you fat, eating before bed provides unnecessary calories, you shouldn’t eat after 10 pm.
Conventional wisdom says that food will sit in your stomach all night long, which will result in packing on the pounds.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Weight Control Information Network website;
“It does not matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight.”
Actually, If your total calorie intake for the day is greater than what you are burning, this can lead to weight gain regardless of what time it is.
When it comes to eating at night people have a variety of reasons that often have little to do with hunger, usually to satisfy cravings to cope with boredom or stress, and after-dinner snacks tend not to be controlled.
Most people tend to veg out on high-calorie foods (like chips, cookies, candy) while unwinding in front of the TV or laptop after a long, stressful day.
In this situation, it’s all too easy to consume the entire bag, carton, or container before you realize it.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, people eating most of their food at night have higher body mass indexes than people who eat earlier in the day.
Once a study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants who ate between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. gained more weight than those who kept their mouth shut during those hours.
It is possible to gain weight by eating later in the day, but not for the reason that most people think.
You have a set number of calories that your body needs to maintain your current weight.
If you stay within your calorie requirements, your weight will remain the same but when you take in more calories than your body needs, you gain weight.
This will happen regardless of whenever you consume those calories.
Assuming, that you can eat 2,000 calories a day and your weight remains the same.
If you consumed extra calories at any time throughout the day, you will gain weight from those calories, not from the time of day that you consumed them.
Your body’s ability to gain weight is mainly about what you eat and how much, not when you eat.
According to Science: Eating at night Doesn’t make you fat
Our metabolism is a complex process.
You might think that your metabolism slows down drastically at the end of the day and, therefore, your body does not burn off the calories you consume at night.
But in fact, even though your metabolism is slower at night when you are stationary than when you are active, your metabolism never stops working, even when you are sleeping.
Calories consumed at night won’t change your metabolism or count more than calories consumed during the day.
Researchers from Israel once conducted a study to test whether eating more at night actually led to more weight gain.
In their 6-month study, the scientists compared people who ate their largest meal at breakfast to those who ate their largest meal at dinner (8 p.m. or later).
and the result was extremely surprising, they found out the participants who satisfied their late-night munchies not only lost more fat, they also experienced more fullness throughout the entire 6 months and saw more favorable changes to their fat loss hormones.
It doesn’t say that’ you must eat your biggest meal at night but it did offer evidence that late night eating isn’t the weight gain villain.
There’s nothing wrong with eating a light, healthy snack after dinner as long as you plan for it as part of your daily calories but If you find that you are eating a lot in the evening, it may be beneficial to select a time to stop eating and to set a plan for what you will eat.
Try to eat four or five smaller meals during the day instead of eating three larger meals.
The benefit of eating meals every three to four hours is it helps regulate your blood sugar, and thus control hunger and cravings.
There are plenty of good healthy options to fulfill your late light cravings.
Whatever you choose, know that the best option for you has much more to do with lifestyle preferences and behavioral triggers than the fear of eating at a particular time or consuming a type of food.
- Don’t starve yourself – Waiting too long to eat can lead to consumption of larger portion sizes. Make sure to have healthy snacks prepared for the day.
- Dodge the quick fixes – After a long day of work or school, a burger seems tempting. Have a quick, healthy meal ready to go such as steamed vegetables and broiled fish.
- When you’re trying to lose weight, eat regular meals and consume 90% of your calories before 8 p.m.
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