Does Eating Late At Night Really Make You Fat Or Is That Just A Myth?


Women's Health |

We’ve spoken about the deal with breakfast making you shed kilos, but what about nighttime eating?

We’ve heard that since your metabolism slows down at night, eating after dark is a recipe for disaster. Plus, one report called it an actual syndrome. We spoke to dieticians to find out if eating at night will really make you fat. 

The Verdict 

It’s not the time that matters – it’s how you’ve eaten throughout the day. “Although your body doesn’t stop being able to digest and utilise the food you eat in the evening, there is truth in the fact that making sure you spread your meals out evenly throughout the day – rather than eating all your food in the evening – will enhance your weight loss,” says Joburg-based dietician Lila Bruk. Your body naturally starts to slow down in the evening, so excess food won’t be utilised as easily as earlier in the day.

The key to losing weight is to take in less energy than your body uses – and if not eating after 6pm helps to keep your energy intake lower than your needs, then this is a good strategy, says dietician Dr Celeste Naudé. “Your body needs and uses less energy during the night, so it makes sense to generally aim to eat the greatest proportion of your daily food intake during the first two-thirds of the day,” she advises. “It’s also useful to compensate throughout the day with smart food choices – if you’ve overeaten at one meal, eat less at the next. Or if you know you’re going out for dinner, have a smaller lunch.”

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