We have been for long told not to eat after 8pm if we don’t want to gain weight. Every fitness freak and dieter out there has been sticking to this approach. It is believed that eating at night makes one fat. The reasoning being as below –
- People are not much active at night and hence they will not be able to burn out the calories that they consume at night, which will make the body store the calories as body fat.
- Foods chosen to be consumed at the night time are usually unhealthy.
- Night eating can hinder sleep and so result in low recovery and regeneration.
- The digestive system tends to act slowly during night and hence the food taken then will not be properly digested.
- A research discovered that those mice that were given food at the night time gained more amount of food than those mice that ate the same quantities of food during the day time.
These arguments seem to make sense at the first glance and make you take up strict decisions not to eat anything after 8pm. But, practically it just makes you hungrier at late night and makes you crave for more food which makes the choices unhealthier. Eating at night time in fact doesn’t make you fat. In fact, you only tend to lose weight faster with it. The reasons being
- Your sleep patterns improve: Depriving yourself of food when you are hungrier makes falling asleep and sound sleeping difficult, whereas getting an undisturbed and sound nights’ sleep is very important for you to lose unnecessary fat deposits in your body. Eating at night when you are hungry promotes better sleeping patterns and hence you are on your way to fat loss in the long run. Moreover, you are psychologically prompted to work hard while winding off in anticipation of getting a good sleep which burns extra calories from your body.
- Daily productivity gets increased significantly: Since you eat well throughout the day, you are able to store energy and work well during your working hours. You find that your energy levels peak up during your productive hours.
- Enhanced dietary compliance: During the busy hours of the day, you are not tempted to eat unhealthy foods. A blend of boredom and hunger prompts you to make unhealthy choices at night. Since you are mentally prepared to eat at night times, you make healthy meal preparations well in advance. This planning helps you eat healthy food during the night times and avoid the temptation to eat crappy food at night.
- Boosted recovery: Taking food at the night time has a similar effect as that of post workout eating. Night time eating enables your body to recover fast from the tiredness of the day time activities. Despite of whether you exercised or not during the day, your body can be benefitted from a night time replenishment eating. Fitness experts claim that the most important meal is your breakfast, but why will you want to replenish yourself from the entire day’s tiredness after sleeping continuously for 8 hours while you can do that immediately?
- Better nutrient absorption: Eating less and working hard during the day make your muscles nutrient depleted. Your muscles, under this condition, are ready to absorb more nutrients. So, feeding yourself at night times boosts up your body’s nutrient absorbing capacity and hence you have a well nourished body. And a well nourished body produces more lean muscles which keeps away body fat accumulation.
So, it can be concluded that not late night eating, but poor food choices and lack of physical activities only make you fat. However, going to bed before one and a half hours of eating can make you put on weight due to improper digestion.