Weight Loss Support - Eating at night, causes weight gain or not?




jhinako
06-08-2011, 10:15 AM
So I've just sat here and read two different "scientific" articles within 5 minutes stating two different things. Some say that eating at night doesn't allow your body the time to burn the calories you consume and will lead to weight gain, as your metabolism slows when asleep....the other article says that tests they have run show no increase when the food is eaten at night vs eaten at a normal time during the day, calories are calories reguardless of the time eaten.

I also just wanted to note that I'm not talking about overeating or binging before bed, or eating excess calories after dinner, moreso eating a normal dinner/meal, but eating it later in the evening. This applies for me because I get off work at 5pm and my SO gets off work at 7pm and sometimes has an hour drive home. So if I want to eat dinner with him, it's occasionally at like 8-9pm at night! Usually I go to bed anywhere from 11-12am at night. Even if it's a "healthy" meal, do I need to worry about this affecting my weight loss attempts? It's definately not an every night thing, but maybe twice per week.

What is the general opinion on this here on 3FC?


Lori Bell
06-08-2011, 10:25 AM
I'd say that if you have lost 27 pounds by eating later in the evening than the article that says it doesn't effect you is your answer!

joyfulloser
06-08-2011, 10:28 AM
I eat from 6:30a.m. til right before I go to bed and I've never had a problem with weight loss stalls. I think it's all about total calories than what time you eat them.:)


indiblue
06-08-2011, 10:30 AM
Where is JohnP??? He's armed and ready to answer this question.

I'll preempt him by saying a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Research (rigorous, peer-reviewed, double-blind research) indicates it doesn't matter what time of day you eat. It's not really an "opinion," but a pretty well known dietary myth that has been clearly disproved. I'm trying to link to studies but the NIH website is down.

Some studies do demonstrate a link between late-night eating and weight gain, but such reports indicate correlation, not causation. A lot of people who snack late at night often overeat. The weight gain is due to the quantity consumed, not the time it is consumed.

EDIT: The website isn't working for me right now, but try this link to see if it works for you: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/myths.htm

aimeebell
06-08-2011, 10:38 AM
[QUOTE=indiblue;3882996]Where is JohnP??? He's armed and ready to answer this question.

I'll preempt him by saying a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Research (rigorous, peer-reviewed, double-blind research) indicates it doesn't matter what time of day you eat. It's not really an "opinion," but a pretty well known dietary myth that has been clearly disproved. I'm trying to link to studies but the NIH website is down.QUOTE]

LOL My first thought was I am sure John has already answered this question :0) I eat a late night snack nearly every evening. Eating that snack means that I eat 200 calories less earlier in the day. For me, 1400 calories is 1400 calories, no matter what time of day I eat.

Beach Patrol
06-08-2011, 11:12 AM
Where is JohnP??? He's armed and ready to answer this question.

I'll preempt him by saying a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Research (rigorous, peer-reviewed, double-blind research) indicates it doesn't matter what time of day you eat. It's not really an "opinion," but a pretty well known dietary myth that has been clearly disproved.

THIS ^ ^ ^ ^
Burn more calories than you eat & you WILL lose weight.

Kattt
06-08-2011, 11:36 AM
Just for the record: I remember reading a study a while back on this, but they used rats - they fed some rats normally, and others during the time they were supposed to be sleeping. IIRC the ones that fed when they were supposed to be sleeping did gain weight, plus I think their blood sugar levels were going of control. But they should do this study on humans, not rats :P So, who knows...

I just stop eating by 8:30pm and that works very well for me.

Riemontana
06-08-2011, 11:43 AM
I eat a snack (80-100calories) every night. It helps my blood sugar stay stable and prevents me from other kinds of evening snacking. It hasn't stalled my weight loss

Beach Patrol
06-08-2011, 11:49 AM
FTR, it is my understanding that the reason they say "don't eat past "X-o'clock" is because many people seem to have trouble with over-eating at night. Maybe it has something to do with being in the "comfort zone" of over-eating while sitting in front of the TV or whatever. I know that used to be a problem for me as well. TV-viewing = eating time, even if I wasn't hungry. And I'm sure that's where most of my over-abundance of calories came from.

So it's not that "evening calories" are any different from day-time calories. It's just an "over-abundance" of them. :^:

cutevampgirl
06-08-2011, 11:50 AM
I eat at night and lose weight.

lynnie923
06-08-2011, 11:56 AM
Since I stopped eating after dinner I have increased weight loss to almost 4 lbs a week. But thats me.

aimeebell
06-08-2011, 12:30 PM
Since I stopped eating after dinner I have increased weight loss to almost 4 lbs a week. But thats me.

But are you taking in less calories overall? Stopping eating at 6 o'clock generally works because it restricts calories, you naturally eat less because you allowing yourself to eat for say a 12 hour window of the day rather than a 16-hour period.

lynnie923
06-08-2011, 12:42 PM
But are you taking in less calories overall? Stopping eating at 6 o'clock generally works because it restricts calories, you naturally eat less because you allowing yourself to eat for say a 12 hour window of the day rather than a 16-hour period.

that could be!!!

Angelique
06-08-2011, 12:58 PM
I think it has more to do with what kind of foods we eat late at night. Personally, the only food I eat at night is junk or sweets (popcorn, ice cream, candy, etc.)

However, some people can get away with it. I stop eating at 9 and my fiance eats all the way up to the point he lays his head on the pillow. He usually has a tall glass of whole milk with about 6-8 cookies before he goes to sleep...sometimes he'll eat half a can of Pringles to finish everything off. He weighs less than me, is 6'4 and has a six pack and I've never seen him exercise.

IsabellaOlivia
06-08-2011, 01:05 PM
Weight gain comes from eating more calories than you burn. Not from eating after 8 pm.

luckymommy
06-08-2011, 01:08 PM
I personally think (based on what I've read in the past) that eating right before bed isn't good because it interferes with the quality of sleep you get. Rather than resting, your body has to continue with digestion. I think it's best to stop eating a minimum of 2 hours before going to bed, but 3 is better. In terms of weight loss consequence, I can only speculate that worse quality sleep can increase hunger, but if you still eat the same calories and create a deficit, you will lose.

pointless2011
06-08-2011, 01:14 PM
I think that eating before bed is okay, just depends what you eat and how much of it you eat

Chubbykins
06-08-2011, 01:46 PM
It really depends on so many other things.
Fact is if your calories overall are bellow what you need to stay the same you will eventually lose.
But what makes someone lose faster etc is still to some extend a mystery.
People that wake up during the night and drink soda and eat food probably eat a lot during the day too, or worse, starved themselves all day and overeat later.

What eating heavily before sleeping does is mostly endager you of throwing up in your sleep and chocking to death, which has nothing to do with weight loss. It might also cause unrest to some, as well as lower the overall quality of sleep.

If you eat something bad it might take 3-4 hours for the body to realise in most cases and if you sleep during that it is dangerous...

Well there is more, but I'm straying from the issue. I know of no proof that you "gain" weight by eating late, but overall it is risky for your cardiovascular and diggestive system, as well as your sleep.

Ferumbras
06-08-2011, 04:31 PM
Speaking for me personally, I always eat within an hour of going to bed (usually it's something around 90 calories and very high in protein). I never have any problems sleeping through the night and it hasn't stalled my weight loss. But every body is different and yours may not like eating late at night. As others have said, what it comes down to in the end is calories eaten vs calories burned.

mzKiki
06-08-2011, 04:42 PM
Nothing scientific here, but I always save 300 calories for my nighttime snack(s).

JohnP
06-08-2011, 05:10 PM
Everyone who hasn't should read this. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/how-we-get-fat.html)

It is a myth that eating at night causes weight gain. Sorry to dissapoint but I can't seem to find the study that best demonstrates this but here is the basic idea behind it. They took two groups of obese women and put them on calorie matched diets. One group ate a larger breakfast, and the other a larger dinner. What they found is that weight loss was same for both groups but the group that ate a larger dinner retained slightly more LBM.

It is true that our metabolisms are slower at night while we're sleeping but that is irrelevant because our bodies are constantly utilizing energy to function. This article has a nice graph (http://weightology.net/weightologyweekly/?page_id=319)that shows flucuating levels of insulin. You could also think of those dips as energy in vs energy out. NET ENERGY is what matters.

Of couse - some people will have their sleep affected by eating a large amount at night so that has to be considered. Studies also show that not getting enough sleep can affect weight loss.

In the end - it always comes back to a caloric deficit and the plan that works for you and therefore is sustainable over the long term.

gagalu
06-08-2011, 06:38 PM
dieting myth. there are likely statistics that support it simply because not eating at night helps people further regulate their calorie intake and they are far less likely to splurge. i no longer have a snacking problem, so eating later at night has not prevented me from weight loss.

Nola Celeste
06-08-2011, 07:37 PM
Even if your overall metabolism does slow at night as you sleep, that means everything slows down, including digestion and conversion of food into fat.

If you're driving 50 miles an hour and slow to 25, everything in your car is likewise decreasing in speed to 25 miles an hour. While that's an oversimplification of the complex process of metabolizing food, it's a good way of not sweating the late-night snack or fretting about not eating breakfast if you aren't hungry enough to eat it upon waking. Your car's fuel travels at the same rate as the rest of the vehicle. :)

CheerMomOf3
06-08-2011, 10:58 PM
FTR, it is my understanding that the reason they say "don't eat past "X-o'clock" is because many people seem to have trouble with over-eating at night. Maybe it has something to do with being in the "comfort zone" of over-eating while sitting in front of the TV or whatever. I know that used to be a problem for me as well. TV-viewing = eating time, even if I wasn't hungry. And I'm sure that's where most of my over-abundance of calories came from.

So it's not that "evening calories" are any different from day-time calories. It's just an "over-abundance" of them. :^:

I was struggling with the same question.. thank you for all of the advice. I don't usually eat dinner until past 9pm every night (due to my schedule) and it was concerning me, but I feel better about it now.. thanks everyone!!
~Newbie here

bellastarr
06-09-2011, 12:03 AM
well even though oprah swears by it (says stopping eating after 7 pm is key) i don't think it matters.. i work out after school and i never leave the gym til 6:30 so by the time i get home, shower, and make dinner i am usually eating at 7:30 sometimes 8.....i too think it doesn't matter as long as you don't eat too many calories total for the day...i can't eat before i work out, i usually have a small snack and then when i get home enjoy dinner which is the biggest meal of the day....sadly all during my workout i am dreaming and thinking of my dinner lol!!

Lovely
06-09-2011, 06:40 AM
Absolutely, positively... does not matter.

And when I say does not matter, what I mean is it is individual.

I can eat whenever I want and as long as I keep my food within my Points I'm on plan and I lose weight.

Some people might find that eating at night is just mindless grazing; they're adding calories to their bodies, because they're bored or looking for something to do while watching TV. They aren't actually eating because they're hungry... the solution to that? They just make the kitchen off-limits.

However, it somehow turned into this big "You can't eat at night and lose weight" myth. That's just not true. For some people, it's better if they avoid night eating. For others it's not a problem, and therefore they don't have to avoid it. :)

Do what works for you. And as long as you're following plan, you'll be fine.

Esofia
06-09-2011, 12:39 PM
The later you wait to eat, the hungrier you'll get, and thus the more likely you are to overeat. Maybe it's that?

OhMyDogs
06-12-2011, 12:05 PM
Actually, for some people struggling with blood sugar issues, eating at night is recommended.

My husband is diabetic, and the dietitian recommended evening snacking because for some people with blood sugar issues, going a long stretch without eating can cause what she called "leaky liver", wherein the glucose reserves held in the liver start to leak into the blood, causing higher blood sugar overall.

I have always been a night time snacker, and I still snack at night. It has not hindered my weight loss at all, except when I make poor snacking choices, which happens from time to time. That issue is my fault, not the fault of the snack or the clock.

luciddepths
06-12-2011, 04:04 PM
No way! I eat a night all the time!!

Leanneeface
06-15-2011, 12:52 PM
I think eating late does cause weight gain for me just because i usually pass bfast and lunch eat dinner and then binge at night so for me personally very bad!

sweetnlow28
06-15-2011, 01:07 PM
During my weight loss journey, I always skipped breakfast and ate 300 calories for a snack right before bed, for a year and a half. I consistently lost weight every week with minimal stalling. Everyone is different but it didn't effect me one bit. That being said, I have some binging issues so night eating is on my list of things to try and stop, unfortunately.

MedChick87
06-15-2011, 05:38 PM
So we've established that eating at night probably doesn't make you gain weight. Here's my question...do those of you who eat later at night weigh first thing in the morning? My tendency is to be paranoid that my weight will be higher b/c i haven't digested the food from the night before. But does it really make a difference?

Lovely
06-15-2011, 05:52 PM
So we've established that eating at night probably doesn't make you gain weight. Here's my question...do those of you who eat later at night weigh first thing in the morning? My tendency is to be paranoid that my weight will be higher b/c i haven't digested the food from the night before. But does it really make a difference?

In the long run it wouldn't really make a difference. You're still losing the same amount of fat, regardless of the food running through your system.

I sometimes eat late, and I always weigh first thing in the morning. Doesn't bother me any, but then I don't tend to get stressed about the scale and the number it shows ever. More curious, but rarely stressed.

JohnP
06-15-2011, 09:45 PM
Found that study

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9040548