Will Eating Afte 9pm Make You Gain Weight?
😂 This is one of our favourite misconceptions.
Mainstream media has scared you into believing that eating after 9pm is gonna make you put on 5lbs overnight.
Well you'll be happy to hear that it's a load of 💩!
Why is this such a common myth?
To be fair, there is some merit and goodwill behind this myth. A lot of research has proven that people eat and snack on junk food late at night.
I'm sure you can picture yourself eating a bag of chips at night while watching Netflix before bed. It might even be something healthy like an 🍏or whatever . The problem is that snacking can easily be blown out of proportion.
Don't forget that everything you eat has calories and if you consume too many calories (no matter what food - healthy or junk) in a day you're likely to gain fat.
Eating at night before bed has become a habit for many people. They don't even eat because they're hungry! They eat because it's comforting before bed. This habit NEEDS to be broken if you want to lose weight.
So mainstream dieticians and nutritionists came up with this ridiculous myth to stop you (or scare you) from over-eating throughout the day.
Here’s a quick little case study that’ll make it real clear for you:
- A 35 yr old mother is trying to lose weight (about 20lbs). Let’s call her Susan. She’s about 170lbs and we’ve done all of fancy nutrition calculations which we’ll keep out of this so we don’t bore you to death.
The calculations show that Susan needs to be eating roughly 1500 calories a day to lose the weight she wants in about 4 months.
Susan might be doing an AMAZING job at following her new nutrition plan. Trying to eat lower calorie options and more protein. At the end of a long day, she feels accomplished not only from work and relationship but also from sticking to her new diet. She thinks “I can’t wait to lay down, binge watch The Office (for the 5th time) and have a snack”.
I’m not sure what Susan’s snack is - maybe its Oreos, maybe its chips, maybe its something “healthy” like whole wheat crackers and hummus. It really doesn’t matter what it is. Because if she’s hit her daily calorie goal of 1500 cals per day, she really can’t afford ANY more calories or else we will risk not losing weight, or worse - gaining weight.
An Oreo cookie has about 60 calories. I know you’re not eating just ONE Oreo! That’s almost impossible! Say you have 4, now you’re up to 240 extra calories above what your daily tolerance is.
Say Susan likes whole wheat crackers and hummus. It’s healthier right? Wrong. Well… technically it’s healthier because crackers and humus are far more nutrient dense than Oreos BUT they are still loaded with carbohydrates. Both hummus AND crackers are carbohydrate dense. Just 5 crackers (small ass crackers) are about 85 calories, wanna dip it into hummus? Turn that 85 into about 240 calories. Same rule applies here, you’re NOT just gonna open up the cracker box, open up the hummus dip and ONLY have 5 crackers and 1 tbsp dip.
My point is, snacking at night can add unnecessary calories that might be more than you think. If you’re having a 400-500 calorie snack - it can easily put you out of your fat loss zone.
So now Susan has a few options:
1. She can cut out snacking
2. She can still snack whenever she wants, but she’s gotta cut some calories out of another meal. Did she have a burrito at chipotle for lunch? Maybe instead she can get a bowl and no rice. That’s a couple hundred calories less in that 1 single decision.
3. She can still snack but replace her high carb and fat snacks with high protein snacks. Insert Plain Greek Yogurt, Jerky and ready for it? Charcuterieeeeeeee. Oh ya, pickled veg is very low calorie and although cured meats aren’t, most people don’t eat too much at a sitting and if you do, at least it’s high protein. Protein will support your muscles to recover from training AND your body burns more calories breaking down protein compared to carbs and fats.
In reality you DO NOT have to worry about eating before bed. In many cases it's actually beneficial to eat before bed. If you're an athlete or someone who's looking to build muscle, a meal with protein and carbs will help replenish muscle glycogen, initiate protein synthesis while you sleep (which is the time tour body spends building the bulk of your muscle) AND carbs in high amounts make you sleepy! So you'll have a great sleep.
Remember that the research shows what matters most for weight gain/loss is overall calories in vs calories out. It doesn't matter what time of day you eat!