There’s no simple answer. And there are a number of variables. Eating late has certainly been proven to contribute to weight gain. But what’s “late” to one person may not be late to another.
Some experts have said you shouldn’t eat after 8 p.m. Sure that’s ideal. But it’s more important if you generally go to bed before, say, 11 p.m. If your regular bedtime is closer to midnight or later, a bite or two after 9 p.m. won’t turn you into lard, especially if you only do it sporadically, and you’re also eating smart and exercising regularly.
One recent study showed, however, that people who go to bed late and get little sleep (four hours or so) are more susceptible to gaining weight than those who got 10 hours sleep. The study was reported in ScienceDaily.com. “Although previous epidemiological studies have suggested an association between short sleep duration and weight gain/obesity, we were surprised to observe significant weight gain during an in-laboratory study,” lead author Andrea Spaeth, a doctoral candidate in the psychology department at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa, told the site.
The study also showed that men, surprisingly, tended to gain more weight than women; and African Americans more than whites.
Okay, you’re saying: Who gets 10 hours sleep these day–other than babies and teenagers?! True, so what does it mean to you? Simply this: Try not to eat anything “heavy” (like a full meal) at least three hours before you go to bed. Then, get to bed before midnight and try to get at least six hours of sleep.
If you do go to bed early and wake up in the middle of the night, craving a snack, resist the stuff you know won’t be waistline friendly, i.e. ice cream, dinner leftovers (assuming you had a hefty dinner), cakes or cookies.
Doing that isn’t just eat “late,” in the traditional sense, it’s eating to lose–and we don’t mean weight.