Does eating after 7 pm cause weight gain, really?
Many of us have heard this and believe that food eaten after a certain time is automatically stored as fat.
The good news is that this is not true. But there are some reasons to be cautious about eating too late at night.
First thing’s first, there is no time after which your body automatically stores the food you eat as fat. Furthermore, your digestion doesn’t just stop when you go to sleep. Sleep is actually quite an active time for our bodies and they need fuel to carry important processes. Our bodies process food eaten later at night the same way as the food you eat earlier in the day.
Where did the myth of eating after 7 pm come from?
This myth partly arose from the fact that, in American society, we tend to eat our most calorie-dense meal at night. On top of that, many of us snack after that dinner. So that evening eating could place us into a calorie surplus, leading to weight gain. Therefore, if we stop eating after 7 pm, we most likely inadvertently reduce our calorie intake, possibly creating a calorie deficit which could lead to weight loss. As you can see, it has nothing to do with timing and everything to do with the amount of food eaten.
So should I eat at night or not?
Eating larger meals close to bedtime could cause heartburn or GI upset as we lie down before that food has been digested and moved out of our stomach. That discomfort can disrupt our sleep which, when experienced chronically, can create other issues.
So what should you do if you are hungry close to bedtime? My advice? Eat. If you choose to ignore that hunger, you could lose sleep because of it. You could also wake up ravenous and eat in ways you normally wouldn’t and that don’t resonate with your goals. If you do need to eat close to bedtime, keep it on the lighter side of things (avoid acidic foods) and eat just enough to be satisfied. This should help prevent any GI upset.