It is a common belief that eating food late at night is bad for you. But no one has been able to give a precise reason for that belief other than give assumptions like:
Midnight Meals Don’t Make You Fat!
A calorie is a calorie, whether eaten at morn, noon or midnight and gaining weight is as a result of eating more than you can burn...
“Body metabolism slows down late at night so the food won’t digest.”
“Your body doesn’t need the calories you pile up in midnight meals so they automatically become fat.”
But as far as current knowledge is concerned, 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.
It’s the total amount of calories you eat (vs. burn) in a given day that matters most, not the time of day you eat those calories because the body burns calories 24/7, though fewer when you’re sleeping than when you’re awake.
Any extra calories above what you need, consumed at ANY time of the day, may be stored as body fat.
“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,” says the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Weight Control Information Network on its web site.
However, this is not to say that eating at night is a habit worth encouraging especially as most people eat at night for many reasons that often have little to do with hunger – often just to satisfy cravings or cope with boredom and stress.
The danger is that the desire for a small snack might end with an entire bag, carton, or container emptied before you realize it.
Aside the unnecessary extra calories, eating too close to bedtime can cause indigestion and sleeping problems.
So pause and Think before you snack! Ask yourself if you are actually hungry and if you honestly aren’t, ask yourself why you have the craving to eat. Is it simply out of Habit or you’re feeling anxious, angry or overwhelmed, lonely or depressed, Tired or bored?
If late night eating is for any non-hunger reason, you’re likely to be eating too much and on the way to adding weight.
Mice vs. Humans
It is interesting to note that some research however suggests that eating timing is actually as important as the food itself.
But.... this warning comes only after tests on mice where one group ate only during an eight-hour period, while a second group ate all day and night.
The all night eaters did become obese with 70 per cent more fatty deposits, though they ate the same calories with the strictly day-eaters.
While this research is interesting, the actual fact is that a calorie is a calorie, whether eaten at morn, noon or midnight and gaining weight is as a result of eating more than you can burn.
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