Eating late isn’t a bad thing?

I may have learned something new today. Calories count, not the clock. I’ve always gotten that, but I always thought late night eating was bad. Luna has a series on their site about debunk diets and today’s topic was very intereting. Before I continue, I think you should watch the video below:

I never bought the don’t eat after 8pm thing because I feel like that’s unrealistic. Most days I’m busy and I don’t get home until 7 or so and then I still have to cook dinner. Some nights I don’t eat until 8 or 8:30pm and that’s just something that I can’t avoid. That’s the reason I never really bought into the whole theory of eating late.

With that being said, I am a strong advocate of not eating before you go to sleep. I would never slam my dinner and then 20 – 30 minutes later get some shut eye. I don’t really know the science behind that, but it just doesn’t seem right to do that. When you sleep, your body is repairing itself and gaining energy for the next go round and your body is relaxed so I would believe breaking down your dinner couldn’t be good for you. But what do I know? I’m not a doctor, dietitian or nutritionist. As rule for myself, I don’t eat within an hour or so of going to sleep. I prefer to have my food digested before going to sleep.

I will admit I have told people they shouldn’t eat late at night. My reasoning behind this is when people eat late at night they aren’t reaching for the bowl of fruit or a handful of vegetables; people tend to reach for the cakes and chips! It’s human nature to crave those types of things late at night but it’s just not healthy. I eat three snacks and three meals a day and that is really all I need to make it through the day. Late night snacking is just not something I do. But that might be because I’m sleeping and not roaming about. What can I say? I’m an older timer and don’t really stay up that late, but when I do stay up late I’m not really hungry.

This has been a hot topic this week because everyone is talking about it. On NPR’s food blog, The Salt, posted a story about people who ate earlier in the day had better results at weight loss.

A new study published in the International Journal of Obesity builds on previous studies that suggest it’s best not to eat too many calories late in the day.

The Spanish study finds that dieters who ate their main meal before 3 p.m. lost significantly more weight than those who ate later in the day. This held true even though the early eaters were eating roughly the same number of calories during the five-month weight-loss study as their night-owl counterparts.

So the big question is what do you believe? This is a question that has been asked and answered very time. The problem with eating early is time and you’re still going to be hungry at the end of the day. But the key word here is main meal, so it’s possible to have your heaviest meal be lunch and eat light for the rest of the day. I’ve always read that lunch should be your heaviest meal of the day anyway.

“The study suggests that it’s not just what we eat but when we eat is important,” says study author Frank Scheer, who directs the Medical Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

These two stories conflict each other, so what should you believe? Science is always going to say one thing and people will say another. Science is based on facts and everything else is based on real world situations. Go with what works for you. If you go one way and see it’s not working for you, it never hurts to stop doing one thing and trying another. There’s no guarantee that either option will work for you but it’s your decision to try or not try.

There is a lot of information out there in the world, it’s our job to take that information and make it work for us. You can’t use every method on your lifestyle change so it’s important to find the methods that work for you and use these types of stories/information to build YOUR foundation.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://twitter.com/ddodearie ddodearie

    This is really an interesting topic to discuss. I have heard so many times that it’s not good to eat after 8/9pm. I agree with you Angela, I think you have to do what works best with your routine and lifestyle. It’s also like the debate about if you should work out in the morning or evening. I know for me I can’t eat any sweets late in the evening or I will wake up tired and groggy the next morning. Looking forward to more posts!