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  • Writer's pictureEmmanuel Ofori

Does Eating Before Bed Lead to Weight Gain? The Truth About Late-Night Eating

Have you ever been warned that eating before bed will make you gain weight? This common belief stems from a study linking late-night snacking with higher BMI in some individuals. As a result, many health-conscious folks began avoiding bedtime snacks altogether.

But does eating late, say around 8 pm, really cause weight gain?

One idea is that our metabolism slows down during sleep, burning fewer calories and potentially storing bedtime calories as fat. However, a recent study conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health suggests that metabolism remains fairly steady during sleep. Even while asleep, our bodies continue vital functions like heartbeats, breathing, and brain activity, all of which require energy and burn calories.

Another concern is elevated insulin levels at night, which can promote fat storage. But surprisingly, insulin levels at night are similar to those during midday when most people eat the most. If elevated insulin levels alone caused weight gain, eating at any time would lead to weight gain.

There's also a belief that eating carbs before bed increases fat storage since unused carbs are stored as glycogen and fat. However, the timing of carb consumption doesn't significantly impact fat storage. 

So why do some people with late-night snacks have higher BMIs? It's usually because these snacks are calorie and sugar-rich, like ice cream or chips. The timing of these snacks isn't the main issue, it's the type of foods.

In conclusion, eating before bed won't make you gain weight if you're mindful of choosing nutritious snacks. It's not about the clock; it's about balance.

Emmanuel Ofori - eMotivates 

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Fitness Professional

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