Is it True that Eating at Night is Fattening?

Is it True that Eating at Night is Fattening?

Are you one of the many people who think that nighttime snacking can make you fat? It’s not surprising that many think so. The fact is, weight gain or weight loss depends on the food you eat and the time when you eat.

Why do people think that eating at night causes weight gain?

Here are the reasons why:

When you eat at night, you’re probably taking in extra calories that your body does not actually need. Any calorie consumed after dinner is in excess of your daily calorie requirement. The extra calorie converts to extra pounds. There is another reason why eating at night results in extra pounds. The body is not as efficient in burning calories while sleeping as it does while awake and active.

The body goes into a state that encourages weight gain at night. There is a drop in body temperature and the hormone, leptin, which suppresses appetite. If you give in to this state and eat to your heart’s content, couple that with a lack of sleep and its impact on your metabolic hormones, then, you’re in big trouble.

As a support to this idea of weight gain due to nighttime snacking, some researchers at Northwestern University did a mice study. Mice generally sleep during the day and eat at night. In this mice experiment, some mice were fed during the day, a time when they should be sleeping, and gained 48 percent more weight from their baseline value. Some other mice were fed at night, as they normally do, and just gained 20 percent more weight.

The mice test somewhat prove that nighttime snacking causes weight gain. However, the research study involved test mice and doesn’t automatically apply to humans. More research is needed to make this definite.

Word of Advice to Nighttime Snackers

If you must eat at night, make sure that you give your body enough time to digest the food before going to sleep. At least 60 to 90 minutes after eating is enough. Your body cannot afford to use its energy while sleeping to digest your food.

Photo credits: Image from Flicker, CC by 2.0

Categories: Health, Weight Loss