After a long, strenuous day at work, nothing feels more soothing and pleasant than the very sight of an appetizing meal for dinner. However, these days it has become a practice amongst the young professionals to have dinner right before their bedtime, as the work stress causes them to return home late. While eating, in general, is directly proportional to the weight one gains or loses, it is still a common belief that eating just before bedtime may lead to weight gain.
Does eating right before bedtime make one fat indeed? Well, one theory states that our metabolism slows down when we’re asleep. With a slower metabolism, fewer calories are being burnt. However, this theory has been disproved and studies have shown that there is no slowing down of metabolism during sleep. In fact, the body still functions in many ways – the heart beats to its full potential, lungs are still working, the brain is still active, etc. Since all these actions require energy, we can safely conclude that we burn calories while sleeping as well.
Another belief is that our body produces more insulin at night. Since one action of insulin is the deposition of fat from the unused calories, the majority of the food being consumed in the late night is deposited as fat. Though insulin levels are higher at night as compared to the morning, they are almost same during the midday. Hence, the claim that night snacking can cause weight gain is not so true.
There is also a suggestion stating that eating carbohydrates in the night is linked to weight gain. The time of the day, however, does not decide how much of consumed carbohydrates is stored as fat and/or as glycogen. Weight gain simply depends on the difference between the calorie intake and the calorie expenditure. If you eat more calories than you burn, regardless of the time of the day, you will gain weight.
Although a few researches suggest that the individuals who have late night-snacking habits suffer from high BMI, it is linked to the simple fact that the snacks these individuals eat at night are usually high in calories. This concludes that irrespective the timings of the day, high-calories food is bound to cause weight gain.
The only fact you need to bear in mind is that if your meal is nutrient-rich and small, it won’t impact your health negatively. So, keep your calorie intake balanced and enjoy healthy, nutritious food at any hour of the day. Cheers!