It has long been suggested by many fitness gurus that eating late at night will make you fat. You may have heard that you should close down the kitchen 2-3 hours before bedtime or that food may likely show up on your belly or hips by the morning.
Before making such black and white statements there are many things to consider when looking at this topic such as your goal and workout schedule. For now, lets assume the primary goal is fat loss since this topic is usually debated on those terms. First, it’s highly unlikely your late night snack is a bag of broccoli. Late night snacking usually consists of high calorie; high sugar choices once your sweet tooth and boredom kicks in. So does that make eating late bad or is it more about or is it more the food choices than the time? Studies have actually leaned to the side of food quality. Not only does it not directly make you fat, but there also may be benefits to eating closer to bedtime. If you deprive yourself too long before calling it a night you may find yourself sleepwalking to the kitchen at 3am and disrupting your sleep, which has a ton of negative side effects in itself. When blood sugar gets too low at night the body may produce adrenaline and cortisol, which can disrupt your sleep.
Bottom line is there are too many variables to suggest everyone who eats late at night will gain fat. Someone who is only able to workout or plays recreational sports in the evening may have different caloric and nutrient requirements for dinner than an overweight individual who did not exercise all day. Rather than restrict yourself to eating past a certain time, aim to eat a slow digestion meal at night. This will help you to avoid overeating and late night cravings. These are meals that will include protein, fiber, and some healthy fat to keep you fuller longer. If eating carbs, choose low glycemic carbohydrates that secrete serotonin. An example would include some turkey, a scoop of sun butter, or cottage cheese with yogurt, banana, avocado, or blueberries.