Will Eating at Night Make You Fat?
One of the most frequently asked questions that I get asked time and time again is this. "Will eating at night or before bed make me fat?" The long answer from this is very different than the short answer. The truth is that eating late into the night will NOT cause added weight gain. However, Lets dive into this topic a little bit deeper.
Here is where the topic can get just a little bit blurry. Eating at night will not make you store fat if portions and macronutrients are kept under control and in check to ensure that a caloric surplus is not present. If you are someone who practices intermittent fasting throughout the day and saves your caloric room for later in the afternoon or night, this can even work better with your body. Sleep is naturally a time of growth and repair when calories should be present in the digestive system. The body functions much better hormonally when in a fasted state throughout the day. This boosts growth hormone and mobilizes fat during the day to help stay lean. When calories are consumed later in the day, growth and repair takes place as the body prepares for sleep. It is also a natural human response to get sleepy as a big meal has been consumed. Everything works naturally.
Meal timing does not play a huge roll in fat gain or fat loss. Overall total daily calorie consumption is going to be the best factor in determining that. If you save calorie room throughout the day to have a meal before bed, this will work perfect. The problem can involve over eating. When people eat late before bed, it can be mentally exhausting to stop and restrict yourself at the appropriate time when you should. Will power is exercised prior to sleeping and it is easier to over eat and indulge before bed. When people say they are gaining weight from snacking late into the night, it is not the meal timing that is making them gain fat. The truth is that they are over eating and leading their body into a calorie surplus by over indulging.
This is why I preach intermittent fasting so heavily. It sets you up perfectly to be highly functioning throughout the day by mobilizing fat for fuel with calorie room for huge meals later on in the evening.
Figure out your own total daily macro-nutrient intake first and learn to STICK TO IT. Once you have that mastered, you can play around with meal timing to learn your own individual way to keep within your calorie guidelines.
My Intermittent fasting day below.