The answer to whether or not eating before bedtime causes weight gain is indefinite and based on several factors. This article seeks to clarify certain health-based issues relating to this topic because, at the end of the day, timing is not as important to food intake as the quality and amount of food that you eat. In fact, this is the case for any meal, regardless of the time at which it’s eaten. The need to be conscious of your eating habits can't be stressed enough when it comes to overall health and wellbeing.
Eating Before Bed is a Controversial Subject
Evidently, what you eat counts more than when you eat it. That being said, many people have been led to believe that eating before bed leads to weight gain. The thought process behind this is that since your metabolic rate decreases when you're asleep, eating right before bed will cause the accumulation of fats from undigested calories. But, when you review the facts, the overall nighttime basal metabolic rate is roughly equal to the daytime rate, since your body still requires energy when resting (Huffpost). Controversy sets in when experts suggest that snacking at night may not only cause weight gain, but also digestive tract disorders like acid reflux (which is brought about when stomach acid finds its way back up your throat) and, in the worst case scenario, esophageal cancer. Therefore, it's advisable to finish meals 3 hours before bedtime if you suffer from acid reflux (Huffpost).
Eating that causes acid reflux can affect your sleep quality and lead to stress. The best you can do to steer clear of the controversy relating to food before bedtime is strictly watch your lifestyle habits by abiding to a healthy meal plan coupled with consistent exercise.
Amazingly, research has shown that snacking on healthy foods before bed can actually provide exceptional benefits, as outlined here:
- Aids in Weight Loss For Some People
As mentioned earlier, the quality of the snack that you eat, rather than the time at which you eat it, remains the most crucial factor to consider. To avoid overloading your digestive system with excess calories after dinner, eat a reasonably portioned and healthy snack around bedtime. This will reduce unhealthy eating habits over time and result in gradual weight loss (Huffpost).
- Promotes Better Sleep
Since a lack of sleep has been associated with overeating and weight gain, having a small portion of a healthy snack at bedtime may help you get a restful, uninterrupted night of sleep (Huffpost).
- May Boost And Stabilize Morning Blood Sugar
For people suffering from diabetes, eating before bed boosts blood sugar. This increases your chances of waking up with the ideal blood sugar level in the morning, since the snack acts as an extra source of energy. However, every individual is different, so seek a doctor's advice if you're suffering from any condition or need individualized guidance (Huffpost).
On the whole, the idea that eating before bed will cause weight gain is a misconception. The main factors that impact weight gain are the number and quality of calories that you consume. In fact, having a small, healthy snack before bedtime can provide the health benefits discussed above.