Monday, January 11, 2010

Does Eating Before Bedtime Sabotage Your Weight Loss?

Many of the weight loss experts claim that eating too close to bedtime will interfere with losing weight. Some recommend that you stop eating two hours before bedtime. Some say three. Some say you should not eat after a specific time in the evening. What is the basis of these recommendations? Does it really matter when you eat? Are you sabotaging your weight loss efforts if you eat too shortly before going to bed?

The short answer is "maybe" but, not for the reasons you may think. There is no conclusive scientific evidence proving that the body will lose weight more slowly or store more of the food you eat as fat or use the food less efficiently when you eat within two or three hours before bedtime.

There are some cases where eating to close to bedtime can be a problem but, it's not related to weight loss. People who tend to get heartburn will often have problems if they eat right before going to bed. Sometimes the type of food such as, very salty or spicy food or alcohol, can interfere with sleep. On the flip side, I have heard people complain that they didn't sleep well on nights they went to bed hungry.
So, why is it that the fitness and weight loss gurus tell us either to either not eat after a certain time in the evening or not to eat within two to three hours of going to bed? It's really about psychology and breaking a habit. Many people who are over weight have a tendency to overeat in the evening. Whether it's because their tired at the end of the day and their will power is weak or they're just bored or maybe it's a habit to eat while they watch TV at night. Regardless of the reasons, night time snacking is very common and the calories consumed at that time can easily blow your diet.
The bottom line is that the total number of calories you eat each day is far more important to weight loss than when you eat them. The one exception to this is breakfast. There have been a number of studies showing that people who eat breakfast tend to eat less over all for the day and have less tendency to be over weight. So, eat your breakfast and then distribute the rest of your calories through out the day in a way that makes it the easiest for you to stick to your daily calorie budget.

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