Eating late, gaining weight? Many people worry about gaining weight when eating late at night. A common suggestion is to not eat after 8 p.m., as it has been associated with weight gain. A popular saying ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’ may sound apt for this notion. However, the conventional wisdom is that a calorie is a calorie, regardless of when you eat it and what leads to weight gain is simply eating more calories than you burn. According to nutritionists, this is the calorie in /calorie out the theory of weight control.
Read this article to know about the facts when it comes to late-night eating and weight gain.
Eating And Circadian Rhythm
The concept that eating at night makes a person gain weight stems from animal studies, where researchers postulate that eating at night works against circadian rhythm, that is the 24-hour cycle that tells the system when to sleep, eat and wake. As per the circadian rhythm, nighttime is meant for resting and not eating. But human studies have disclosed that eating excess calories beyond daily needs results in weight gain, unrelated to what time of day a person eats.
Late Eaters Tend to Eat More
Several studies have concluded that people who eat at night tend to eat more and consume extra calories. Thus, over a period, a surplus calorie can lead to weight gain.
Poor Food Choices
Generally, later eaters not only tend to eat more food, but they often make improper food choices. The many possible reason for this is late-night eaters may not have easy access to healthy food. While emotional eating is a factor that leads to poorer food choices at night. It’s vital to recognise between true hunger and eating due to stress, anxiety, or sadness. Well, if you are hungry after dinner, then opt for healthier nutrient-dense foods like fruits or nuts.
Meal Timing And Frequency
Although the total number of calories that a person eat ultimately affects weight, studies reveal that there are ways to manage appetite through meal timing and frequency. Appetite and cravings can be regulated by eating a balanced breakfast in the day and by eating small and frequent meals, these approaches may avert overeating at night.
Technically, the time of day you eat doesn’t affect how the system processes food, what really counts is total calorie intake and how much a person workout during the day. You won’t gain weight by just eating later if you eat within daily calorie needs. While studies also reveal that night-time eaters usually make very poor food choices and eat surplus calories, which can result in weight gain. Well, if you are hungry after dinner, choose healthier foods and low-calorie beverages. Furthermore, consider eating a high-calorie nutrient-dense breakfast and space your meals throughout the day to regulate appetite and fend off late-night cravings.