Does Eating Late Cause Weight Gain?
You may have heard that eating at night makes you gain weight. In fact, a common idea is that you shouldn’t eat anything after 8 pm. The truth is, when you eat doesn’t matter as much as what you eat. Read on to find out more.
- How Eating Affects Your Circadian Rhythm – The thought that late eating causes weight gain comes from observing animals. Studies suggested that calories were used differently by your body after a certain time of day. Researchers then determined that your circadian rhythm, which is the 24-hour cycle your body runs on that tells it when to eat, sleep, and wake up, runs on the notion that nighttime is for sleeping and not eating. This theory was tested on mice, and it was found that those who ate against their rhythm gained more weight than those who ate normally. However, studies done with humans don’t support this idea. When it comes to people, what and how much is consumed makes more of an impact than the time.
- Late Eaters Often Eat More – When looking at how meal time relates to calorie intake, it has been shown that those who eat closer to when they go to bed are more likely to consume a higher number of calories. Further studies show that individuals who ate between 11 pm and 5 am consumed approximately 500 more calories in a day than those who only ate during the day. As such, eating the extra calories is the reason for weight gain rather than the timing.
- Night Can Affect Food Choices – Those who eat late at night often make poor food choices. They are more likely to select foods that are higher in calories and that have very little nutritional value. This can be due to emotional eating, a lack of healthy options available, or because being tired often comes with a desire for junk food. If you really do want a late-night snack, choose healthy options such as carrots with hummus, or apple slices with nut butter.
- Meal Timing and Frequency – Eating a breakfast that includes protein will stabilize blood sugar and can help to prevent overeating at night. Eating 3 meals per day also helps you to manage your appetite. Listen to your body and follow the hunger cues it provides.
The reality of the matter is you won’t gain weight by eating later in the day if you are making healthy choices. What it comes down to is the quality and number of calories consumed in a day. If you stay within your daily calorie recommendation, you won’t gain weight. This is just some of the information you will learn while taking the holistic nutrition course at the Edison Institute of Nutrition. Our classes are also available online.
We are internationally recognized and offer our online courses around the world. To learn more about our programs, call the Edison Institute of Nutrition today at 1-800-456-9313. You may also contact us online to speak with one of our educational advisors.
Also Read: Three Ways to Effectively Manage Your Weight