Oprah is famous for her weight struggles, and several years ago she proclaimed that she never at after a certain time of night, lest it made her gain weight. Eating at night is often associated in people’s mind with weight gain or poor health, but what’s the truth? Here’s the lowdown on the late night eating legend!
A Calorie is a Calorie
There’s no magic formula to time of day that makes eating in the morning better for you than it is at night. The simple fact of the matter is that if you consume more calories than you burn your body will store that excess in the form of fat. How much you eat and how much physical activity you do during your entire day is really what drives weight loss, weight gain or just your ability to maintain.
There still are some very good reasons, however, not to eat at night or to be very cautious about it. This is mostly because in the evening hours it’s really easy to go overboard and turn one small snack into a whole bag of too much.
There are many reasons why people tend to eat at night, and they don’t have a lot to do with hunger. Often, people are stressed or just bored and so they snack. Plus, the snacks people tend to eat at night are calorie dense – like chips, cookies and candy. They are also eaten mindlessly in front of the TV or computer and before you realize it that handful of potato chips turned into half the bag. Aside from the weight issue, eating that many extra calories so close to bedtime can interrupt your sleep through indigestion or other sleeping issues. And most people have been there, done that!
Most experts recommend refraining from eating at least three hours before bed anyway, just to be nicer to your digestive system! Remember, everything slows down when you sleep and that includes your digestive tract. Those chicken wings will take forever to get through if you eat them right before bed!
Snacks are OK
As long as you plan for it as part of your daily caloric intake, a snack after dinner isn’t the end of the world. To keep yourself from overeating, try to:
- Pay attention to the food while eating.
- Avoid eating in front of the TV or computer.
- Have a snack you portion out beforehand or one that comes in a portioned pack.
The bottom line is there is a lot more research that needs to go into the timing of calories throughout the day, but snacking smart and being mindful of the things you eat throughout the day are a great way to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.