Can eating at night impact weight gain?
Can this simple tip help you lose weight?
Eating after dinner might be worse than we thought!
In one 6-week study,1 mice who ate only during their active hours maintained a healthy weight. Mice who ate during both their active and usual resting hours gained weight.
Both groups of mice ate the same calories and foods. All the mice had similar levels of activity.
This study suggests that eating at the “wrong” time can impact weight gain.
It’s unclear why this is. A calorie is a calorie according to your body and most medical texts.
These texts will suggest that your focus should be on the total calorie count.
The US Department of Agriculture’s website states “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.” H/T to WebMd I am going to disagree here.
From my own experience, I know this is not true.
I know for certain that late-night eating will cause weight gain.
It also throws off my blood sugar regulation for the entire next day. It creates cravings where there were none before.
Calories are units of energy. These units allow us to be active. How many calories should you eat per day? It depends on physical activity levels, age, and gender.
According to the US Department of Health2: Adult males generally need 2000-3000 calories per day. This is to keep up their weight and activity.
Adult females generally need 1600-2400 calories per day. Pregnancy increases this caloric need. If calories and counting them were all it took to lose weight everything would be much simpler. It isn’t quite that easy.
How many people have been miserably counting calories for YEARS? As soon as they stop, what happens?
Yep, the weight comes back on.
How does eating at night impact weight gain?
Nighttime eating seems to be part of a larger unhealthy pattern.
Night-time eaters made poor food choices throughout the day. People who snack and eat after dinner tend to pay less attention to healthy choices.
Who’s going for a midnight snack of carrot sticks?
These nighttime snacks tend to consist of sugars and carbs. It’s also difficult to track serving sizes when eating in front of the TV.
I know when I’m distracted it’s easy to get carried away with snacks. Have you ever looked down and realized you finished a whole bag or container of snacks? We’ve all done this.
I’m sure we all started doing this as kids. Now that we’re adults and worried about our health, it’s time to start paying attention to late-night snacks.
The new rule is to stop eating 2 hours before your bedtime. Even Oprah encouraged people to stop eating after dinner to improve their health.
She stated that not eating for 2 hours before her 10 pm bedtime worked for her. If you say that you’ll stop eating at 7:30 pm and then stay up past midnight, you’re likely going to have cravings.
Cravings get us into trouble. Eating too late at night also disrupts your circadian rhythm3. Circadian rhythm is your body’s sleep pattern over the day. When you eat late at night you create blood sugar imbalances.
These imbalances will impact your blood sugar throughout the entire next day.
Late-night snacks may leave you tired and sluggish. They say people who stop eating after 6 pm may lose more weight than those on a calorie-restricted diet.
Here’s an article we wrote about How to Lose 5 Pounds with Type 2 Diabetes.
Make sure you eat a balanced dinner low in carbs and high in fats to stay satiated longer.
Late-night eating can also give you heartburn and indigestion. This will disrupt your comfort and cost you sleep. Sleep is important in blood sugar regulation.
It seems that for regulating blood sugar and sleep, eating after dinner is a poor choice.