I have read several articles over the years about eating habits and how when we eat is of no consequence. It's all about calories in and calories out.
Yet my own experiences show otherwise. When I stop eating before 7 p.m. my weight is more controlled and my stomach is flatter. Many of my friends have said the same.
One of the reasons I have believed that late-eating causes weight gain and is generally not good for us is that I think it interferes with our sleep. Our bodies are busy digesting food instead of repairing and rejuvenating our bodies overnight like our bodies are supposed to.
Studies aside, my gut (pun intended) instinct says eating late at night is a weight-gainer, and it's not just a cases of calories in versus calories out.
Turns out I may not be alone in my thinking. CNN wrote an article on a study where researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston analyzed 420 people in Spain who were involved in a program for weight loss.
They divided the group into two and had one group eat lunch (the biggest meal of the day in Spain) before 3 p.m. and the other after 3 p.m. Lunch in Spain uses up about 40 percent of the day's calories.
The group who ate lunch earlier lost a significant 25 percent -- more than the group who ate the largest meal of the day later. Breakfast and dinner times were not studied.
One of the researchers said that one reason for this is that the body has a 24-hour clock that's designed to take in food during the day, rather than at night. He said the body is better at metabolizing food during the day.
The study also stated that since the results were self-reported by the participants, it's not a scientific finding, rather an observational one.
There may also be a genetic component, said study author Dr. Frank Sheer. He said that research has shown a gene known as the "clock" gene, when different from the norm, is seen more in obese people.
An article on EmpowHER.com called True or False: Eating at Night Will Make You Gain Weight goes through some reasons why night eating may be bad. People may have skipped dinner and overeat at night.