Am I fat because of late night dinners?
Is eating late your problem or why is it that you don't seem to lose weight despite all your efforts.
Some people work until late at night, others come home from school only when it is pitch dark outside. Is it too late to eat now? Because we all heard somewhere that late night snacking makes us fat, right? Some of our friends tell us proudly that they under no circumstances eat after 7 pm and that this is the reason they lost 5 pounds. But before we go to bed hungry, let’s find out a bit more.
Does late night snacking make us fat?
Let’s think logically. A calorie is a calorie. Our body is not going to say: ‘Hey buddy, it’s 8:10 pm now and I am going to charge you double for every piece of food you shove into your mouth.’ You eat your hamburger with the french fries for lunch or for a late dinner, it is unhealthy either way.
But there are two actually scientific facts you should know:
- The later you dine, the more calories you are likely to eat. Most probably your stomach is rumbling by the time you open the fridge. The food you will be drawn to is high-calorie junk food and not the salad and the cucumbers because you are starving for god’s sake. Your hungry brain is making you go for the food reward which may be chocolate for example. The problem is that if you eat chocolate in this state, you will end up eating the whole box because you are not enjoying it but cramming it all in your mouth. The feeling of satiety is a result of your brain reacting to chemicals released when you put food or liquids into your stomach. The thing is, your brain takes around 20 minutes to register these chemicals and guess how much chocolate and fast food you can devour in that much time!
- If you are coming home late, I may suspect that you go to bed late too. That again means that you are most probably sleep deprived and that is an other reason that leads you to choosing the junk food over the salad. The reason is called ghrelin which is a hormone that increases appetite. If you are sleep deprived, your ghrelin levels increase and you feel hungry.
Can we eat late at night then?
Well if anyone eating after 7 pm was destined to be fat, all southern countries would be stuffed with obese people because they usually eat around 9 or 10 pm. Personally I think that the healthiest thing to do is to stick with your hunger feelings. As an active person I get hungry the latest around 9 am and then again around 1 pm. I mostly have a proper snack at 3 pm and then dinner at 7 pm. I observe that the only thing that happens when I eat too late at night is that I am not hungry for breakfast in the morning. I also suspect that this is one of the most common reasons people actually skip breakfast. And now that is the reason you are putting on weight: It is statistically and scientifically proven that skipping breakfast makes you fat. It is not the late night snacks, it is the missed breakfast. So let’ jump to the conclusion: In order to be hungry for breakfast in the morning, you shouldn’t eat too much late at night.