Does Eating Before Bed Cause Weight Gain?

We’re constantly fed different information about what can potentially pack on extra pounds. Does eating before bed cause weight gain? That’s what I’ve been told for years of my life. You’ll find countless publications that tell you not to eat for 2 to 4 hours before bed in order to prevent your body from putting on unnecessary fat.

Then there are other articles that give you a list of the best fat-burning foods you can eat before bed. Well, this is confusing, isn’t it? Can you eat before bed or not? Are there certain foods you should eat before bed in order to burn more fat? Are there certain foods that cause fat gain?

Oh, the health and fitness industry does it again!

I’ll tell you what I’ve learned. And this is coming from a guy who actually eats his last meal about 10 minutes before falling asleep. Eating before bed will not cause weight gain. It doesn’t make you fat.

In fact, when I started eating before bed every night, I lost 15 pounds of fat in a few short months. Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that eating before bed causes weight loss. That’s not at all what I mean.

What I AM saying, however, is that whether you choose to eat before bed, or any other time of the day, your weight loss or weight gain will never be directly connected to the time of day you eat.

I’ll get into the details of this below.

Why Do We Think Late Night Eating Makes Us Fat?

The main reason it’s a bad idea to eat at night as opposed to during regular hours of the day is that nighttime eaters tend to make poorer choices about the food they put into their bodies. It’s really that simple.

As far as any kind of biological or chemical reason though, there is none. There is absolutely no conclusive evidence to support any claims that say our metabolisms slow down at night causing any kind of food consumption to result in weight gain. We don’t get fat by eating before bed.

That said, the best reason to avoid eating before bed is simply to develop habits that will help you avoid weight gain. I’ll give you a good example from my own life. I used to have night eating syndrome. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and make crazy meals. These were items that I’d prepare that I would never eat during the day.

Because I was always on some kind of restrictive diet, I believe my mind was telling me it was time to really eat when I was actually half asleep. So my whole low-carb lifestyle was pretty much ruined by bags of chips, cookies, and sandwiches I’d prepare for myself around 3 am. This caused me to never lose unwanted fat making it impossible to hit my fitness goals.

It’s well-known that late eaters tend to eat more food. It’s very easy to overindulge on calories late at night. When you go over your calorie budget for the day, you gain weight. On the other hand, you could eat a double cheeseburger and fries right before bed, and lose weight, if you’re under your daily calorie budget.

The reason I’ve lost 15 pounds of fat in only a matter of months is because I started paying close attention to daily calorie consumption. I’ll explain this below.

The Truth About Night Eating & Weight Gain

If you go over your calorie budget for the day, you’ll gain weight. If you don’t know your calorie budget, the simple equation I teach people to follow is this:

  • Bodyweight x 15 = maintenance calories

So, whatever your maintenance calories are, that’s how many you should eat per day to stay at your current weight. Whether you eat those calories in the middle of the night, or at lunchtime, your weight would stay the same.

However, there are studies that have shown that people who eat later at night, tend to take in far more calories than people who ate earlier in the day. It makes sense, because the very final meal I eat every night never feels fully satisfying. I always want a bit more, but I know if I go over my calorie budget, I’ll gain weight.

This study revealed that those who ate between 11pm – 5am consumed 500 more calories per day than those who ate earlier in the day. What this did was cause those late night eaters to gain approximately 10 pounds over time.

Intermittent Fasting

I follow an intermittent fasting lifestyle, and while it’s not the same as eating in the middle of the night, it is a major shift in the hours of the day that you eat.

At first, I was very nervous to do this, because I thought we were supposed to eat small meals every few hours in order to lose weight. But the truth is, intermittent fasting actually has many weight loss benefits, which you can learn about here.

Also, because of intermittent fasting, I eat my final meal around midnight right before bed. At the same time, it’s caused significant weight loss, because I follow a specific calorie calculation which i’ll describe below.

The Truth About Weight Loss

If you’re interested in losing weight, then it’s very simple. There’s no need to diet or follow any kind of fad eating plan. All that’s required is getting yourself into a simple calorie deficit.

This means you’d eat fewer calories per day than your body currently eats, and you’ll lose weight. Visit this article here to learn exactly how to calculate a simple calorie deficit for yourself so that you’re set up to drop 4 – 5 pounds per month seamlessly.

Night Time Weight Gain In Summary

So, does eating before bed cause weight gain? The answer to that is no, it doesn’t. However, because late-night eaters tend to overindulge and take in more calories than those who eat earlier in the day, it’s a good idea to avoid nighttime eating if you feel you don’t have the ability to resist cravings.

Since I began intermittent fasting, I’ve had the opposite experience, and I find my favorite meal is right before bed every single night. As long as you stay within your daily maintenance calorie budget, regardless of whether you eat at 4 am or 12 pm, you won’t gain weight.

I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions or comments regarding any of the information late out here, please leave them below and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks so much for reading!

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