ORCHIDBLOSSOM - But I'm just curious, why would you want to put fuel into your body if you're just going to go to sleep?
Because you already made a deficit today that, if left unchecked without that extra bit of calories going in, could be too high a deficit for you.
Eg you want a daily deficit of 500. If your activities throughout the day (BMR, exercise, food thus far) have created a deficit of 600, then you ideally DO want to eat a 100 calorie snack before bed. You haven't quite created the deficit you want.
Stop thinking "I'm about to be sedentary" and realise you've ALREADY been super-active today! :)
That's why you still need food, although the time of day doesn't matter.
Basically, if you've created a situation where your body needs 1500 calories per day, it won't matter if that's 1500 before 8pm, or 1300 before 8pm and a 200 calorie 9.30pm snack.
Actually, your body does need fuel when you're sleeping. That's when a huge amount of the repair work gets done, and possibly when your metabolism gets "recharged" in some way. People who don't sleep enough tend to burn fewer calories in a 24-hour period-- sleep either burns calories or allows your body to burn more during waking hours.
2/19/13 1:58 P
I know. For me, junk food is a comfort. It makes me feel good. I'm pretty sure no one on this site became overweight from eating carrot sticks and hummus. I absolutely hate that I cannot eat like I did before. I used to eat like I thought someone was gonna take it away from me. Maybe by eating a little bit of what you crave right before bed will make you more relaxed and less stressed. I dunno, just a thought.
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2/19/13 1:51 P
That might be a valid question if food were nothing more than fuel for your body. But for most of us, food is much more than that. I will leave alone the fact that going to bed does not necessarily mean that one will not be burning calories.....
Read the thread and I agree with Anarie, you've got to do whatever works best for you. But I'm just curious, why would you want to put fuel into your body if you're just going to go to sleep? Doesn't quite make sense to me, personally.
"I have a personal relationship with food. I love it, but it's on the fence about me." ~Kathy Griffin
"If there was a famine, we'd be the last to survive." ~My mother
2/19/13 1:39 P
another one of those silly myths that have been busted. What matters is overall calorie intake for a 24 hour period. You could get heartburn or acid reflux from eating right before bed, that's all. I do, that's why I try not to eat right before bed.
2/19/13 1:35 P
Many good answers in this thread. I just wanted to post to get it back up to the top.
Personally I eat a snack every night. I can't go to bed on an empty stomach. I don't sleep well. Usually some dairy product or a carbohydrate like cereal.
Eat what you like and if someone comments, eat them too
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Even if you did eat a big meal before bed, and your body stored it as body fat, when you are active, you break down fat and use it to fuel your body. This is why you can eat 1500 calories and work out, when you have a BMR of 2000 calories. You use your stores of fat. Fat is just energy saved for when you have used up the food you ate.
So what really matters is that in a 24 hour period you consume less calories than you burn. Even a temporary storage of fat will be overcome as you use it later. Prolonged deficits of calories ( dieting ), will eventually get rid of the majority of that fat that is stored. It is how the body functions. We all store fat, and break some down to use every single day of our lives.
Trying to avoid fat storage by timing meals sounds good, but we all have meals that are 500 calories.. do we then run out and burn 500 calories? NO. So some gets converted to fat, and we burn it later. It happens after every meal, no matter what time you eat.
Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 2/19/2013 (13:22)
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JACQUM01 please read the whole thread. I thought my earlier post explained your theory about laying down and not burning as much quite adequately.
Deb, in New Zealand
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2/19/13 12:35 P
It has nothing to do with burning calories off. You burn whatever number of calories off a day that your activity supports - regardless of when in the day the activity occurs. By the same token, you take in however many calories you take in during a 24 hour day - regardless of when during the day you consume them.
And the difference between calories in and calories burned will determine weight.
Timing of exercise and timing of meals is not a factor.
Fitness Minutes: (1,104)
91 2/19/13 12:14 P
Its just that when you lay down with food in your stomache you are not burning it off as you would going about your daily activities.
I was craving food last night around 10 so i grabbed a bag of carrots and snacked. If i do eat late at night i just try to make it healthy.
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2/19/13 12:01 P
This thread brought back memories of my father. He could not sleep unless he ate a sandwich before going to bed. He was a lean man all his life.
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2/16/13 1:04 P
Have steadily lost weight this fall and winter. And this loss included air-popped popcorn misted with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt virtually every night at 8-8:30PM.
Yes, I plan for the snack.
I actually think it helps me stay on track and not give in to temptations - knowing that I have that treat waiting for me each night.
2/16/13 12:29 P
Your digestive system has no idea what time it is. Food comes in, and gets processed. That said, sometimes eating late at night can upset people's digestion (acid reflux, etc) so it's maybe not a good idea.
I think the bigger problem is that people tend to over eat in the evenings-- start snacking while watching tv, and go overboard on the chips or have some chips, and then some ice cream, and then a couple Girl Scout cookies, and then some salted nuts because salt tastes so good after something sweet. And now we've gone over our calorie range, so why not just really blow the day and eat some of that Valentine's chocolate while we're at it.
So they'll set up a cut-off time, for eating, like no eating after 7 p.m., to stop themselves from overdoing the snacks.
Ruth in Cookeville, TN Central Time Zone
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I've actually noticed something interesting over the years of hanging out on weight loss websites. It seems that most people I personally know of who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off do eat a late night snack. They plan for it so that it doesn't put them over their calorie target for the day, and it's generally something small like fruit and cheese or a small bowl of cereal, but pretty much every long-term maintainer I know does this. That does NOT mean that everyone should or that it necessarily helps with weight loss/maintenance, but it does suggest that eating late doesn't automatically doom you to failure. The studies that have shown an advantage to eating early were all either animal studies or very short-term studies, and it's very hard to do long-term studies, so we don't have a scientific basis for either side. It's a case where you kind of have to see what feels right and works for you as an individual.
Fitness Minutes: (16,615)
2/16/13 9:28 A
Eating right before bed doesn't make you gain weight faster. Personally if I eat a lot right before bed or something high in fat right before bed, in the morning I don't feel very well. That might just be my body but I try not to eat for at least 2 hours before I go to bed for that reason.
The basic concept is - if you eat some food then go lay down for 9 hours, you aren't "working off" as much of that food as you were the rest of the day.
This is true.
HOWEVER ... during the rest of the day, through your food and exercise choices made, you already made a deficit. The food you eat late at night will go to repleneshing some of the stored fat that powered that deficit, rather than being stored as all-new fat.
Eg say you start the day with 100 beans in a jar.
Throughout the day, I take out 30 beans and throw them away.
At night you put 20 beans back in the jar.
Tomorrow - you still have a 10 bean deficit. Those 20 you put in at night didn't make you end up with 120 beans in your jar. You still need to account for the 30 I tossed away, so you're still down 10 beans overall.
Deb, in New Zealand
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5,092 2/15/13 10:27 P
"Myth or Fact: Eating before bed can make you gain weight faster than if you eat the same foods during the day.
Answer: Myth. Most experts agree that we gain weight when we take in more calories than we burn up. And while it seems logical that foods we eat during an active day will burn more quickly and more efficiently than foods we eat right before going to sleep, Moyad says weight gain is not based on a 24-hour clock. "It's the total amount you take in over a period of time compared to how much you burn that determines if you will gain weight," says Moyad.
Recent animal studies suggest that avoiding after-dinner snacks may help prevent weight gain. Eating at night may disrupt the body's circadian clock and alter hormones that control appetite and ultimately result in weight gain.
That said, Levy reminds us that when we are fatigued or stressed, eating right before bedtime can make digestion more difficult and may cause more gas, bloating, and heartburn. "There is a 'brain' in the gut that helps to make sure that food is moved through the digestive system at the right pace, in the right amount," says Levy. When we are fatigued -- like most of us are at the end of a busy day -- that 'gut brain' is fatigued as well. So, says Levy, there is a decrease in the number of contractions that move food through the system."
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,690 2/15/13 10:25 P
No, it's not true. Your stomach doesn't know what time it is, and your calories are metabolized the same no matter the time of day. Don't worry about pre-bed snacks. THe main reason to avoid late night snacks is that they're an easy way to sabotage your calorie range and spoil the day's progress. But if you plan for them and count/track them, you're fine.
Heather Writer, mother, wife, and breadwinner. I love to run, but running doesn't love me, so I'm switching to my low-impact bike.
I have always heard eating right before bed is bad for your metabolism and makes you store fat easier. Is this true? What do you think a good cut-off would be in terms of not eating so many hours before bed?
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