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I’ve long held the opinion that eating late at night causes me to gain weight, even if I’m not overeating. In other words, if I eat 1,800 calories a day and stop eating by 7 p.m., I don’t gain weight. But if eat 1,800 calories a day and my last meal is around 11 p.m., I do notice a few pounds adding on. We’ve been told “a calorie is a calorie” and it doesn’t matter when it’s consumed – evidenced by a 2005 study by the Oregon Health & Science University.
My reasons for thinking like I do are varied. First, I don’t sleep well on a full stomach and lack of sleep quality is linked to weight gain. I also know that sugars and carbs need to be used up rather quickly by the body in the form of activity, or they turn to fat. Obviously we’re inactive at night. Additionally, my body uses my sleep time to repair cells and rejuvenate. If it also has to work at digesting late night foods, neither process will be as efficient as they should be.
So I was happy to see that my layman’s medical view might be right after all. A new study has shown that people who eat later and consequently sleep later have unhealthier eating habits (fewer fresh, live foods) and tend to consume more if they tend to eat at night and have a higher body mass index (BMI). But even taking these more obvious findings away, it was still concluded that any late-night eaters were at higher risk for weight gain. Researchers deduced that eating after 8 p.m. is the general cut-off line in terms of weight gain risk. Ultimately, they found that although the tendency to weigh more due to night time eating is there, they are unsure exactly why. Perhaps they should take a look at my thesis in the paragraph above!
Do you believe night-time eating has a tendency to cause weight gain, even if a person is not consuming more calories that someone who stops eating earlier? Have you seen this in your own life?
Edited by Alison Stanton