Who’s guilty of eating late at night? *raises hand* I am. I’m sure you’ve heard that you shouldn’t be eating after a certain time of the day or else, you’ll gain weight. But how true is that? Will late dinners and midnight snacks really ruin my weight loss goals?
But truth be told, we CAN actually eat late at night.
It’s how much you’re eating
It’s not rocket science – weight gain happens when you consume more calories than you burn. Therefore, late night eating does not actually make you fat, as long as you stay within your body’s daily caloric needs. If you have been eating healthy throughout the day and you feel hungry late at night, some apple chips are perfectly fine.
However, there must be some reason why people always attribute late night eating to weight gain right?
When you have unhealthy high sugar and fatty foods, your blood sugar levels go up. If you go to bed like this, you’re not burning the energy and it will cause your body to store excess sugar as fat. However it is NOT the main reason people put on weight at night.
Late night eating may make you put on the pounds if…
1. you binge
Most of us aren’t wary of the amount of calories we eat in a day (I mean, who bothers counting right?!) A good gauge would be to eat till you’re 70 – 80% full.
If you’re on a restrictive diet, that might just turn disastrous. You may feel super hungry at night and give in to your cravings because you feel so restricted throughout the day. A big meal may feel too much so what do you reach for? UNHEALTHY SNACKS. Ice cream, potato chips, nuggets – all sounds so delicious and appetising… and that’s how you may be a victim of weight gain.
A study done in the US found that nighttime eaters ate 12% more calories than those who ate only throughout the day :O
2. you eat mindlessly
We’re all guilty of this. One moment you’re watching TV and the next you realised you have an empty pack of chips!! That’s because you were distracted and not aware of how much you have eaten. Uhoh.
We often eat out of boredom, or for stress relief. However, we tend to make poor food choices late at night and that’s how we end up binging 🙁
mindful late night eating is beneficial for health
You must be wondering… what?! A study done in the US found that small, nutrient dense foods filled with protein or fibre of 150 calories or less may help promote heart health, reduce your risk of diabetes and help your muscles recover after a hard workout. YAY!
how to stop cravings and eat late at night
1. Have a hearty breakfast filled with protein
2. Keep late night snacks between 150 calories or less.
3. Don’t get distracted while eating – pay attention to what you’re eating!
4. Choose portion-controlled snacks so you won’t eat an entire bag of chips
5. Choose high protein and high fibre snacks
6. But you really want that ice-cream, or chips, portion it out and put the rest back in the fridge
Remember, overeating in the day may also cause you to gain weight over time. It all boils down to how much you eat, and how active you are, and that determines whether you gain, lose or maintain your weight.
Happy snacking! 🙂