Does Eating at Night Make One Gain Weight?

sleep and weightOne of the most hotly contested topics among nutrition and health experts is if the time we eat affects our weight. Some say that eating at night will cause weight gain because you will not use the calories at night as much as you will during the day. Others dispute this saying that weight gain or loss does not happen overnight. Does eating late make one fat?

This claim came about when scientist conducted a test on two groups of mice. One group was allowed to eat throughout the 24-hour clock while the other group was only allowed to eat during the day (an eight-hour period). Both groups consumed the same number of calories. The researchers found out that the mice that were allowed to eat at night became obese. According to the scientists, these mice ‘disrupted their body clock.’ The research suggested that the same could be true for humans.

Research Studies

According to that particular study, the intestines, muscles, and liver are at peak efficiency at certain times, and they also go to sleep. Another research team noted that one should build a pattern of three meals per day from childhood and not disrupt that pattern permanently. Doing so, they argue, will affect the hormones that control your appetite.

obesityOther researchers note that having late snacks can make you skip the all-important breakfast. Late snacking has also been linked to skipping breakfast which makes you hungrier throughout the day. These experts argue that eating late into the night will affect your breakfast which often leads to overeating and consequently gaining a few pounds. Eating late into the night may also affect the quality of your sleep, a significant contribution to weight problems.

Other studies, however, contradict these findings. A study on monkeys similar to the one on mice found out that taking your calories at night will not change anything weight-wise. The researchers concluded that while the mice may well exhibit changes on their weight when they eat at night, the same is not true for primates. Experts say that those who work or workout at night will not experience any weight change if they eat at night.

Perhaps the strongest argument against this idea is that weight is determined by what you eat and not necessarily the timing as the body cannot change drastically in 24 hours. If you eat sugary foods at night, it will affect your sleep quality affecting your weight. That does not mean eating sugary foods during the day will not result in weight gain. It all comes down to the calories you consume and use in a particular period that is surely not 24 hours.

While conclusive research findings may not have been reached, most health and nutrition researchers agree that eating at night does not make you gain more weight. They argue that weight gain or loss is not based on the 24-hour clock but rather a larger period. If you take more calories than you use over this period, then weight gain will definitely happen. However, it is important to note that digesting will be more difficult if you eat right before you sleep while you are fatigued or stressed.