Does eating late at night cause weight gain
Many people have emailed me with the belief that eating late at night is causing them to gain weight. However, this is nothing more than a myth. This old wives' tale propagates that our metabolism slows down at night because we are inactive and therefore, we store the food we eat as fat. An incorrect popular quote states that we should "eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper."
Is this true?
Weight gain is only influenced by overall calorie intake, food portion sizes and the quality of the food that we choose to eat. It actually has nothing to do with the time of day we have our meals. Research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms this theory and describes it as "calories in verses calories out". This explicitly means we gain weight by consuming more calories than we burn and we lose weight by burning more calories than we consume.
Where did this idea evolve from?
Most people tend to overeat at night whether it is due to boredom, stress, emotional eating or simply to satisfy their cravings. These nighttime binges are sometimes out of control and individuals consume large portions of high-calorie snacks. Nutritionists advise against eating at night because it is so easy to overdo it. These late night snacks contribute to weight gain, quite often tricking people into believing that late-night eating is bad for you.
How should you eat at night?
There is nothing wrong with eating at night as long as your meals are healthy and you do not consume more calories than you burn. Sometimes being too restrictive, i.e. refusing to eat after 6pm, can cause more harm than good. This might make you feel extremely hungry and even set you up for failure if you end up binging and cheating on your diet.
If you enjoy eating at night, make sure you enjoy low-calorie healthy snacks. Be aware of what you are eating and pay attention to your portion sizes and the quality of the food you eat.
If you are trying to lose weight, the only thing you need to worry about is that you are following a healthy diet and an exercise program. This is far more important than worrying about what time of day you eat. I have personally always eaten meals at night and saw results whenever I was trying to lose weight. If you need help with a fat loss program, just download my free guide here.