Is Eating after 7 p.m. Really a Recipe for Weight Gain?
Like us, you’ve probably met people who say, “as soon as I stopped eating after 7 p.m. I lost weight.” However, don't let them talk you into skipping late dinners--this is mostly fiction! Eating after 7 p.m. itself does not cause weight gain.
Although your body does have some sense of whether it is day or night, it will handle calories virtually the same no matter what time of day you eat. This means you don’t have to forgo dinner if you get home after 7 p.m. At the same time, we're not exactly giving you the green light to chow down all hours of the night.
Typically when people eat at night they aren’t reaching for healthy foods like veggies and fruits. When most people eat at 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., they’re grabbing cookies, chips, ice cream, or other snack- or dessert-like items while they watch TV or relax. So when those people decide to stop eating after after 7 or 8 p.m., they are just cutting out a lot of extra calories from junk food. It doesn’t matter what time you eat the junk food, cut back on it and you’ll lose weight (what a novel idea--we love it!).
Although, we don’t recommend having a heavy meal before bedtime. If you get home from work and haven’t eaten dinner, we suggest having a light meal or a healthy snack. We find that if you haven’t eaten since lunch and you go to bed hungry, you’ll still be hungry when you wake up and you’ll inevitably end up overeating. For a light, quick, dinner, try having a veggie egg white omelet or a nonfat Greek Yogurt with fruit or a bowl of oatmeal with a hard-boiled egg. Although these may sound like breakfast ideas, they are quick and healthy at any time of day.
—Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse “Lyssie” Lakatos—otherwise known as the Nutrition Twins—are registered dietitians, certified personal trainers and authors of The Secret To Skinny: How Salt Makes You Fat. They will be blogging about healthy eating and weight loss for Fitbie every week.
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