Late night meals are often associated with weight gain  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- A number of diets tell us what to eat, the calorie counts of foods, and portion sizes recommended.
- But one often wonders about what time to eat to lose weight?
- As night approaches, the rate at which we process food, slows down.
The 1960s popular nutritionist Adelle Davis famously put it this way: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”
Not only have nutritionists since then been debating over what and how much to eat to stay healthy and lean, but also about when to eat.
Breakfast: Our mothers were right. One must not skip breakfast. Harvard School of Public Health researchers studied the health outcomes of 26,902 male health professionals ages 45 to 82 over a 16-year period. They discovered that the men who skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from heart disease than those who ate the morning meal.
Lunch: But most people like to eat a bigger meal in the afternoon. By this time, one has reached the day’s peak activity level. Calories can burn faster. So the body requires nutrition and also uses this fuel.
Dinner: What about nighttime meals? Should one not eat after dark? Should one skip dinner to lose weight, and to stay healthy and lean?
According to a report in TIME, “What you don’t burn off is more likely to be stored as fat, as you become less active toward the end of the day,” says Tracy Lockwood, a registered dietitian at F-Factor Nutrition. “Eating too close to bedtime increases your blood sugar and insulin, which causes you to have a hard time falling asleep. Therefore, your last meal should be the lightest of the day and should be eaten at least three hours before you go to sleep.” Eating (especially late) at night has long been associated with weight gain.
So let us list that thus:
- Do not eat too close to your bedtime
- Keep it the lightest meal of the day.
- Eat at least 3 hours before you go to sleep.
Other reasons why late dinner is a bad idea:
- Low lights and circadian rhythm changes make one crave sweet treats at night
- One ends up making unhealthy choices when eating late and in an unplanned manner
- Ice cream and other desserts that can send blood sugar soaring right before bed
- Melatonin, a hormone that is meant to help you feel tired and relaxed, goes down
- Waning levels of melatonin make it harder to fall asleep
- Also, lying down immediately after a meal increases your chance of acid reflux.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.