Monday, August 4, 2008

Does Eating Late Really Cause Weight Gain?

     It's another common weight loss tip: Don't eat late at night. This is one rule that's especially hard for college students to follow. We don't have lunch at noon like many working people; we eat after class around 2 or 3. Then, the rest of the evening is filled with studying, socializing and hopefully exercise, until dinner at 8 or 9. I've even found myself eating as late as 11 or 12. So is this really a weight control mistake?

     No. Not necessarily. It's a problem if it causes you to consume more calories than you burnt that day, which as a practice will eventually result in weight gain. If you waited too many hours before eating (usually about 4 hours) and your body has gone into "starvation mode," you're more likely to overeat. It could also occur if you've already eaten your calorie allotment for the day, but you're snacking out of boredom.
     So what to do? If dinner is hours away and you're starting to feel hungry, listen to your body and eat something. Despite how busy you are, make time in the evening for small, healthy snacks like nuts, granola or whole wheat pita chips. If you're exercising, it's especially important to eat carbs before and protein after if you don't want to be famished by the time you eat your evening meal.
     If you've already eaten your meals for the day, and you're still up and feel like snacking, stick to low-calorie snacks (my go-to snack is popcorn). And remember if you eat too close to bed, you won't feel like eating breakfast, which has been associated with lower BMI.
     As long as you're conscious about what you're putting into your body, there's nothing wrong with eating dinner when you feel hungry for it. In college, you will most likely go to bed late. So forcing yourself to eat dinner too early would mean you'd be feeling hunger pangs again before bed.  
     Eating dinner early is just not conducive to the student lifestyle. Trying to force yourself to do so would be an attempt to follow "rules" made for people with different lifestyles and different needs.


MizFit said...


thanks for coming by & I;; be sure to send readers your way.


Chrissy said...

Very interesting. Thank you. I have been told mixed things, yes/no well which is it!!
The one thing that has helped me with my weight gain is a book called Embrasing your Big Fat Ass by Laura Banks and Janette Barber. They have made this such a fun book and I love it so much that I feel like sharing it with the world!!
They are amazing authors and if everyone wrote a book like this I'd read all the time!