Is it true that eating before bedtime causes you to gain a lot of weight? No. Eating the wrong foods causes you to gain weight anytime you eat it! If you eat a bowl of fried ice cream topped with fudge, peanut butter, and whipped cream, you will have the same difficulty losing weight whether you eat it at 11:00 am or pm. On the other hand, an apple is great any time you eat it. As long as you are entitled to a snack you’ll be okay.
The reason why people think that not eating late at night helps you lose weight is because people who don’t eat at night tend to lose more weight. But this is NOT because they didn’t eat at night, it’s simply because they didn’t eat. If you starve yourself the entire day, you’ll also lose weight. The difference is that people find it easier to skip that bedtime “meal” because they will be going to sleep in a few minutes and will not have to spend the next few hours fighting their urge to eat. On the other hand, skipping lunch will have you starving all afternoon and will probably result in a big evening binge.
So nutritionists may advise you not to eat before you go sleep, but that’s only a trick to get you to eat less! If we could come up with a way to get you to skip desert at your sister’s wedding (apple strudel topped with ice cream) we would do that too. Contrary to popular belief, food that you eat right before bed is not directly stored as fat. That is a myth. What matters is the total calories consumed on any given day, not the timing of those calories. So as long as you stay within your recommended daily allowance of calories – you will not gain weight.
It is true that your body’s metabolism is slower at night than it is during the day. But again, as long as you’re eating the right foods this will have no effect on your net weight loss. Throughout a 24 hour cycle your body burns about 2,000 calories. Therefore, to lose weight, you need to consume less than that amount each day and it does not matter when you eat what. As long as you stay below that 2,000 calorie mark, you will lose that difference. There are, however, other effects of eating before you go to sleep that may be of concern. Foods that the body finds hard to digest may cause you to have a less restful sleep. Think about it; how can your body relax when it’s trying to break down the hot dog, french fries, and diet coke you just ate? Although you may sleep all night, you will not wake up well rested.The best thing you could do for weight loss is to eat the right foods. If you happen to get the munchies at 12:00am and you have a snack saved up, enjoy it.