I was curious about this topic because i love eating at night. I also believe that everyone has at least eat at night before and most of you living a lifestyle that makes you do it often. I believe that many people think like me, that we get more munchies at night and that food taste better. Also, many situations call people to eat at night such as coming back home late in the night without having the time to eat an early dinner or going to a party and getting hungry afterward. Hence, i wanted to find out about this myth so that i finally can argue whether we get fatter or not if we eat late.
So does eating late at night makes you gain weight?
From the many articles i read, it seems to confirm that we indeed does gain weight for eating late at night. In Jeremy Duval’s article, he states that there were one study with 400 participants and they found out that late night consumption has lead to weight gain. Despite the rejection of the null hypothesis, all these articles still debate on the fact that weight gaining mostly comes from other factors than the time we choose to eat. A good example would be the fact that many “easy” food that we tend to grab at night are more sugary or contain lot of carbohydrates. Thus, this is also one of the factor that made us gain weight at night time.
According to Adam Bornstein, our body is not on a 24 hours clock which means that it does not matter at what time we choose to eat but more on the quantity and the quality of our food. For example, if we eat something sugary or eat above your calories count, then it is likely that we will gain weight. In this same article by Bornstein, Israel researchers have conducted a study to prove whether eating at night causes fat by comparing two type of participants. One type have to eat their heaviest meal at breakfast while the other at night. The results were that those who ate at night lost more fat and were more satisfied with their hunger. You can read more details on the findings of this study on this link.
In other studies such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, the researchers found out that people who eat at night ate 12% more calories than daytime eater. This is also backed up by the International Journal of Obesity study who also said that people who eat at night are more likely to binge-eat. Therefore, we can conclude that eating at night does not directly make you gain weight but many other factors still causes it to happen. Thus, i would say that we should accept the null hypothesis and refers to these other factors instead.
So under what condition should i eat at night to not gain weight?
Well as mentioned above from the findings, it seems that we should eat right and plan it well to not gain fat. This means that we should choose our diet so that it will consist of low carbohydrates or low sugary meal at night or eat less during the day to have more calories intake available at night. Moreover, we should leave some time for digestion because sleeping while digesting is not the best idea. Lori Zanini, an expert and educator in diets and diabetes, stated that we should eat at least 1.5 to 2 hours before going to bed to ensure that we are done with our digestion and actually make our body rest while sleeping. Duvall article also emphasize on this point.
Lastly, we should also take into account our lifestyle preferences and how our hunger is being triggered. As stated by Bornstein, we sometimes eat at night out of boredom or just having the urge to eat something rather than feeling hungry. Thus, we should try to control that if it happens because it usually leads to surpassing our calories intakes per day. Moreover, we should not have a heavy late night meal if it can be a trigger for us to eat snacks at further late time such as 2 am. I would conclude that eating at night and not gaining weight is only feasible if we control our calories intake, digestion time and diet for the whole day.
By Dhaam Sakuntabhai