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Want to Lose Weight? Don't Eat Late at Night

By Expert HERWriter
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eat earlier to lose weight Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock

Weight gain and obesity is in the news all the time. If you are like most people, you are looking to lose at least ten pounds and maybe more to attain your optimal weight.

Trying to find an easy diet plan, exercise plan, and stress management plan to help you get rid of those unwanted pounds? I might have an easy solution for you.

What time you eat could be the key to losing weight. Changing that one behavior might help you jump-start your weight loss until you can start incorporating other basics like a whole foods diet and exercise.

Eating a late dinner or late-night snacks can create an inability to lose weight or weigh gain. If you have a busy schedule you might not be getting home until late, say 8 or 9 or 10 p.m. at night. If that is the case then you might not be eating dinner until very late at night.

I’m sure after an extremely long day you are ready to have a great night’s sleep to get rested and restored for the next day. However when you eat late, you have the potential to create weight gain and have less quality sleep than if you eat dinner in the earlier evening around a traditional dinner time before 8 p.m.

From a nutrient perspective food is fuel, so when we eat we need to consider when to eat release fuel into our systems. When we eat shortly before we go to sleep we are creating a situation where all the fuel and nutrients in food get released when we no longer need energy and food.

It is always better to eat during the day when we need energy for our daily activities. Sleeping is the time we need the least amount of energy so eating and having our food release energy when we sleep is counterproductive to a good night’s sleep and causes the body to store those calories.

Storing calories from late night snacks results in weight gain especially if you are eating late on a consistent basis. A study conducted by Northwestern University also noted that people who tended to eat late tended to eat higher amounts of calories and more fast food than people who ate before 8 p.m.

Ideally I recommend that people eat three to four hours before they are going to sleep to give the digestive system time to process and digest their meal before they go to sleep. This allows you to use some of that fuel while you are still awake.

It also allow your digestive system to calm down and prepare for sleep. When you eat three hours or less before you go to sleep you activate your digestive system, stomach acid, pancreatic secretions, and the muscles in the intestines to begin to process the food. That prevents the relaxation of the body for sleep.

In a culture that is always looking for a quick way to lose weight, eating at a traditional dinner hour before 8 p.m. might be the easiest behavioral change that can have a big impact on your goal to lose that last 10 pounds.

Live Vibrantly,

Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.com
Dr. Dae's book: Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living can be purchased @ www.healthydaes.com

Dr. Dae's Bio:

“Dr. Dae" (pronounced Dr. Day) Daemon Jones is a Naturopathic Physician who treats the whole person using safe and effective combinations of traditional and natural methods to produce optimal health and well-being in the lives of her patients.


"Insomnia - MayoClinic.com." Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2012. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/insomnia/DS00187

"Later Bedtimes and Weight Gain - The Insomnia Blog - Sleep Doctor Michael Breus, PhD." The Insomnia Blog - Sleep Doctor Michael Breus, PhD. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 May 2012. http://www.theinsomniablog.com/the_insomnia_blog/2011/11/later-bedtimes-and-weight-gain.html

Reviewed May 16, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I'm a nurse by profession and schedule is something that we don't have any control at. There are cases that we eat at night, and when a person stays awake at night, they'd feel hungrier. I don't have much time to exercise due to my overwhelming schedule being the reason why I was obese. As a solution, I have resorted to diet pills that has energy boosting effect to be lively while on work. I have gained better results with Prescopodene but I guess I was successful in it because I have coupled my weight loss program with minor brisk walk and small frequent well-balanced meals while on the pill. It works fine on me. I just a need a couple of pounds to lose to reach my goal weight. Just sharing.

June 18, 2013 - 8:04pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I agree also have the same problem about that. I am more of a night person and I also can't afford not to take anything. I'll be hypoglycemic by then and I might passed out due to my low blood glucose level. Maybe what I need is an appetite suppressant and a fat burner that has an energy booster so I won't have to suffer such symptoms if I won't eat that much at night. I'm looking for a pill that could do all of that. What about this Prescopodene, is it any better? Thanks.

July 5, 2013 - 6:24am

The best diet is to NOT be on any kind of diet except something that is balanced and nutritious. The best diet is to NOT eat 3 times a day, but to eat 5-6 small meals a day to keep your metabolism and blood sugar at optimal levels. And if losing weight is a big priority, weight training is a major fat burner up to 24 hours after a workout. Whereas, aerobic activity only burns calories while you are doing the activity itself. Weight training or any kind of resistance training packs a powerful fat burning punch for nearly 24 hours.

December 25, 2012 - 5:37pm
EmpowHER Guest

This advice may hold true for those of you that keep regular hours, but I'm a night person, an insomniac, and I'm also hypoglycemic. I need to eat about 1-3 hours before bedtime, or I'll roll out of bed and pass out from low blood sugar. I usually eat a small bowl of baby carrots and broccoli and sometimes a few thin slices of deli-style turkey. There was a time, up until 4 weeks ago, that I was eating a container of Ben & Jerry's ice cream a few times a week. I was going through a lot of stress and depression. In fact, I've been battling stress and depression all my life, but didn't really start battling my weight until I started having children, and it has become worse after I turned 40. Yes, I'm overweight, and my weight has fluctuated within a 40 pound gain and loss. It's difficult to battle depression, anxiety, insomnia, as well as a myriad of other health issues, much less worry about gaining a pound because had a small snack before bedtime.

May 21, 2012 - 12:06am

The best diet out there is have any kind of meal you want to have daily but have your meals 3 times a day. The main goal to keep up is from 8 PM at night don't eat anything anymore. Not even water absolutely nothing. After awhile you will see you are starting to lose weight. This is the best diet to be with.


May 18, 2012 - 9:39pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Melissa6666)

Pretty sure you can have water if you want. It's got no calories.

November 27, 2012 - 7:08pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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