Metabolism Myths: Eating Late at Night Causes Fat Gain...?

Posted by Miranda Mercke on Friday, February 16, 2018

Milestone Personal Trainer Miranda Mercke debunks a common myth about eating before bed...

"When it comes to meal timing, far too many ‘nutrition experts’ recommend not eating anything past 7 or 8 pm. What is their main reasoning? Well, there seems to be a common misconception that our metabolisms somehow down-regulate at night, and thus the food we consume later on in the day is more likely to be stored as fat while we sleep…

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This simply could not be further from the truth! Our bodies and our metabolisms are constantly running. When you sleep, your heart is still beating, your brain is still active, and your muscles are recovering, rebuilding, and getting stronger! All of these processes require energy, and thus, your metabolism simply doesn’t stop working or slow its pace at a certain time of day.

WHEN you consume calories isn’t nearly as important as the total AMOUNT you consume throughout the day. And to expand on this point a bit further, your daily caloric intake isn’t nearly as important as your total WEEKLY intake. In order to gain or lose weight, you must be in either a caloric deficit or a caloric surplus for an extended amount of time. One day of eating less than your specific level of maintenance calories won’t cause you to lose 5 pounds, just like eating over your maintenance level of calories for one day won’t cause the scale to jump up 5 pounds, either.

Now, if it’s late at night and you’re sitting in front of the t.v, of course it is important to be mindful of how much you are eating. Snacks that are salty and crunchy like chips, or sweet desserts like ice cream are easy to eat in large quantities, and are quite calorically dense. These foods may create a caloric surplus for the day, and THAT would be the hypothetical cause for weight gain, not simply because you ate these foods before bed.

Since I do a majority of my training in the early morning, I enjoy having a larger meal before bed, knowing that my glycogen stores will be topped off and ready to go when I wake up. Additionally, it is much easier for me to get a good nights rest when I don’t go to bed hungry. And as I mentioned earlier, you’re body goes through the bulk of its repair and recovery processes while you sleep, so ensuring that your muscles have the supplies (aka – the nutrients) they need to heal up, is very important!

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Look at 22:00! (10pm)

Focus on how you are fueling yourself throughout the entire day. As long as you’re eating an appropriate amount of calories for your goals, you will be successful. When you choose to get in your calories, is completely up to you! If you are somebody who likes to snack at night and have a larger dinner meal, simply plan out your day accordingly."  Milestone Fitness Louisville

To book a personal training session with Miranda Mercke, call Milestone's Fitness Office: 896.3900 x 115.