As you try to lose weight, you might’ve heard about some people advising you against eating the moment the clock strikes at 8 pm. According to them, eating late at night leads to weight gain. But does it really? It’s time to dispel the myth about this misleading advice. The health experts reveal the truth behind eating late at night.
Focus on What You Eat
According to health experts, the correlation of eating late at night and weight gain originated from various scientific studies conducted on animals. These studies show their bodies used their calories differently at the different time of the day.
The researchers even hypothesize that eating late at night can cause weight gain because it affects your circadian rhythm. Eating halts your body from resting and lulling you to sleep since it tries to burn the food instead. However, the health experts say this may not be the case when it comes to a human’s situation.
You need to monitor your calorie intake as well as the quality of the food you eat to maintain your weight.
They reiterate that while these studies work well with animals, a human’s circadian rhythm affects our resting and sleeping patterns, not eating. In fact, the experts say it doesn’t matter when you should eat. What affects your weight is the food you eat.
For example, another recent study was conducted on over 1600 children who ate their dinner past 8 p.m. didn’t gain any excess weight.
Instead, they’re able to maintain their weight since they did not consume more than their required calorie intake.
However, another study conducted on 52 adults showed those who eat their dinner or night snacks past 8.P.m. lead to weight gain due to the extra calories they consumed.
The researchers also tracked their eating habits and found most of the food they eat are processed ones. This leads to consuming extra calories which trigger weight gain over time.
Eating Late Leads to Binge-eating
Most people tend to binge-eat late at night while doing their favorite activities like watching TV, surfing the net, reading a book, etc.
Aside from eating beyond your required calorie intake, the health experts say eating late at night can trigger binge-eating too. Most people tend to eat more at night since they’re relaxed already. For example, you can eat a bowl of popcorn in a snap while watching TV.
Since you’re distracted, you’ll never notice you’re eating more than your recommended portion, causing you to binge-eat and consume more calories than necessary.
Another study also showed that those people eating between 11pm-5am consumed 500 or more calories per day compared to those early eaters. Over time, this increase in calorie intake can accumulate up to 10 pounds of weight gain.
Poor Food Choices
The health experts also say eating late at night tend to have people make poor food choices. One main reason for this is that they don’t have access to healthy and wholesome food. For example, those who work at night and graveyard shifts tend to eat unhealthy foods in 24/7 convenience stores or fast-food chains since most stores are closed at night.
This restricted access to healthy foods forces people to resort eating in cheap, processed foods. Another factor the experts considered is emotional eating.
List down your emotional triggers to identify whether you’re really in dire need of food or are just eating to alleviate your stress.
Most people tend to not only eat but also make poor food choices when they’re hungry or emotional due to anxiety, boredom, stress, or sadness. They tend to give into their impulse to eat, especially when they crave for sweets or starchy foods like pizza, doughnuts, ice cream, etc.
These high-caloric foods not only trigger your weight gain but it also wrecks your hormones which can increase your appetite before going to sleep. If you feel hungry after taking dinner, the experts recommend you drink water first to see if your hunger subsides. If you’re still hungry after 30 minutes, consider eating some light foods like fruit to ease your hunger.
The health experts conclude eating late at night doesn’t make you gain weight if you only eat healthy foods without consuming extra calories. However, your unhealthy eating habits lead to your weight gain.
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