Feb 9 2010

Eating Late at Night — Does it Matter?

This is a super-common question we see a lot — what time is best to eat, or conversely, when is the worst time to eat?

Is There a ‘Late Night Eating’ Myth?

If we’d been writing this article a few months ago, there’s no doubt we would have quoted a few common responses online, and told you that in the end, there’s zero evidence to support time-of-day eating theories. A calorie in is a calorie out, in other words, and your body doesn’t process food or calories different when you’re sleeping than when you’re awake.

If you do a search online, you’ll find lots of evidence for this theory. Take a quick look at these quotations:

The common assumption is that eating late at night will not give your body the chance to burn off the calories and you will gain weight. The truth is that your body processes calories the same way at night and during the day. The problem with late-night eating is that people tend to indulge in junk food rather than something healthy and that is what leads to weight gain.

askmen.com

There is no magic time after which the body stores fat. For instance, if you eat the same exact meal at 6 pm or at 8 pm, is one more caloric than the other? No, each meal has the same number of calories. What really matters is the total amount of food and drink you have over the course of a week, or a month or longer, and how much energy you expend during that timeframe.

Columbia University

This is a very commonly-believed weight loss myth. But it doesn’t really matter when you eat, only how many calories you eat and burn in a day. Whether you’re eating in the morning or at midnight, your body turns any extra calories into fat.

about.com

So It Seems Like a Myth. But Hold On…

But then, hang a second — there’s a BBC article floating around from last September that seems to go against what all these studies are saying:

Scientists found that when mice ate at unusual hours, they put on twice as much weight, despite exercising and eating as much as others.

The study, in the journal Obesity, is said to be the first to show directly that there is a “wrong” time to eat.

In the end, what does this tell us? We have one study that shows a definite link in mice. We have lots of other studies (some with monkeys) that show no link whatsoever. And we have lots of circumstantial evidence that points to bad eating habits getting worse at night. That shouldn’t really be a surprise — when we aren’t sitting down for a proper meal, but rather just scarfing food out of the fridge, all those things that kick in: portion control, the sense of taking more time to eat, talking with someone else at the table — they just aren’t there.

Everyone’s a Scientist (Including Us!)

But there’s a larger issue here: we’re at risk of being snowed over by studies and facts, and there’s nothing like a good diet study to make everyone (ourselves included) an amateur scientist. Really, is there any other aspect of our lives in which we trumpet (or parrot, or dismiss) the results of scientific studies so much as with diet and exercise?

I’m not trying to push an anti-science approach, but there have been tons of studies that both prove and disprove many of the big nutritional theories out there. Michael Pollan addresses this science-fixation quite well in In Defence of Food he says America “knows more” about what it eats than any other nation in the world, and yet it eats worse than nearly all of them. Again, read all the studies you want, but always remember that the media loves to hype up what looks like a definitive myth-smashing or myth-confirmation study, often at the expense of coherency.

The Internet Makes it Easy to Prove Either Side.

Just as a reminder, if you search online for “eating late at night”, you’ll get two BBC articles on the first page of results. One is called Eating at night myth exploded, and the other is called Eating late at night adds weight‘. Both report scientific studies in a way that’s accessible to the general public. One is right, one is wrong; or wait — both are wrong. Or maybe both are right.

In the end, we think it’s best to move past the minutia of studying mice and monkeys to figure out if it’s a good idea to eat that sandwich at 2AM. If you’re doing everything else right, eating well and with lots of variety, in moderation, and working out, these are the kinds of debates you can start to forget about.

What About Spain?

After all, there’s a very healthy Mediterranean country out there by the name of Spain. They eat notoriously late, but they also eat very well. While obesity has doubled in Spain over the last 23 years, it’s not due to some epidemic of late eating, which has gone on for a very long time. Rather it’s the same old culprits — prepared and fast food, and increased ignorance of traditional cuisine.

So — if you’re already eating well, you probably don’t have much to worry about. On the other hand, there is some new evidence that suggests cutting out late night eating might make a big difference — to both the healthy and the not-so-much among us.

Over to You!

We’re curious about your experiences — have any of you cut out eating late at night? Did it make a difference? Are there any of you following a great nutritional plan, exercising regularly, who still hit the fridge (or eat meals) really late, with no effect? Are you in a country (like Spain, or Italy) that eats dinner closer to 9PM than 6PM? Tell us about it!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/yulia.shapieva Yulia Shapieva

    All I can say here – It doesnt mater wether u eat late or not!if u feel hungry in the evening- eat smth small like apple or kivi or drink a cup of tea(without sugar of course ;) and this hunger feeling will go away! do not go crazy about night snack and puting a plate twice as big as u can possibly eat! I lived in Spain for 7 yrs and its true- now there r lots of fast food places with lots of types of “bocadillos” which is basically white bread with different stuff in it. And it became common to eat crisps. So they drink bear, eat crisps, snack on those sandwiches. Its sad, coz there r so many nice other things out there!

    So ppl, its up to u, u know yr body more then anybody!

    I personally stopped eating white bread, all different kind of cookies, napolitanas or muffins, and i feel my body is way more lighter now! I work out every day and i do treat myself time to time with a lil piece of black chocolate. And of course Fruits and Veggies r my BEST friends! Just like you guys! Zuzi and Freddy, thank u for this movement!I believe u ve changed SO many lives by giving this all to us!

  • Nadia

    I’d say experiment for a while. I’ve always agreed that a calorie is a calorie no matter when you eat it, but for me personally, I’ve just recently started experimenting. I’ve had trouble with painful bloating over the past several years and I’m sick of it so I’ve decided to really try to tackle it.

    I first tried cutting out food all together about 4 hours before bedtime, and that just made me cranky and hungry. So then I tried just eating a small snack (crackers or something), and that helped but I still bloated. Then over the past month or so I’ve only allowed myself fruits or veggies for the last 4-5 hours before bed. (Fruit if I feel hungry, veggies like cucumbers or peppers if I just feel like eating). That by far has made the biggest difference on how I feel in the morning. My stomach feels flat and not bloated at all. So maybe try to experiment with 1. eating or not eating before bed, and then 2. what you’re eating – that might make a big difference in how you feel in the morning.

  • http://askmarketinginternet.com Alyxsa

    I have a BAD habit of eating cereal at night, its become more like a habit! I only eat cereal like special K with berries (mmmm my fav).

  • Inaeh Garcia-Johnson

    I have times when I feel hungry a couple hours after dinner or if I go out and stay up late, I listen to my body and I eat if I am hungry, I like to keep it light like fruits, bananas, papaya, mango with shredded raw coconut is a good one I usually pick one but of I happened to have time and all of these fruits I mix them.
    I drink a lot of water after dinner through out the night
    and I do think that my sleep time is for my body to heal itself and recharge and digestion takes a lot of energy from our bodies.
    Now if you work at night, then eating at night is fine just not ( too often)right before you go to sleep.

  • marketa

    Hi, I think it depends on what is your goal. If you only want to keep the weigh you have {or loose few kilograms] or if you need to loose a lot. I lost about 25 kilograms in 1 year. My way to achieve this was 30 min cardio before breakfast using fat burner, breakfast like yoghurt with oats, before lunch fruits or vegetable, lunch 1/2 portion of some healthy food composed of meet, vegetable and only a little of side dish, after lunch again fruits or vegetable in few portions, then I went to gym for at least 1 hour, for dinner I had something light like salad, or steamed vegetable, sometimes tuna. I stopped drinking alcohol completely for several months, now I drink only occasionally white wine. From my experience you should go to bed with the feeling you have empty stomach and you are already looking forward for a breakfast. Whenever I ate my dinner later or even when I ate before sleep something small like piece of cheese or some fruit, I did not lose weight but I even put on some however the total amount of food per day was the same as other days. To avoid late eating I drink psylium {fibre] which makes you feel bit full and then I brush my teeth. Cause when my teeth are brushed I don’t want to eat anything else, cause I would have to brush them again:o] I also go to sleep before midnight most of the time. I suggest to you guys who normally eat at night and don’t put on, continue to do that. If you want to loose something, continue to do that as well but make sure that you eat something light like vegetable or fruits. Don’t do dramatic changes because I think if you decide not to eat at night all from sudden, your body will automatically get used to it and whenever you return back to your night eating habit, you will start putting on weight.

  • Sage

    Hi,
    I am alway really hungry a few hours after dinner, and I find that eating at night has no effect, but I always eat something healthy like vegetables, fruit, or a piece of cheese maybe. Since I’m still a teenager I have a huge appetite, but as long as I make sure everything I eat is good for me, I have no problem whenever I eat it. However this also may be because I play sports and workout everyday. I know that for my dad he always does his unhealthy snacking late at night, so I think it depends on what you choose to eat at that time.

  • Hitesh

    Hey guys,

    Could really use your advise on something.

    I currently work 12 hrs a day in China, and go to the gym at 8:30 – 10pm every night. Thus by the time I get back home, and have dinner, its already 10:35pm. Seeing the various posts, our metabolism is slower at night and our body normally uses sleep time to regenerate n stuff. But since I eat dinner so late, that too lots of protein, chicken n stuff, my body uses sleep time to burn it off.

    Basically, I wil not be able to change my gyming timings. Is there any advice on eating at night in my situation? Any particular foods that would digest quicker, but still give me the nutrients I need to fuel my body after working out?

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

  • LL

    I agree with the comments that say it can personally be good or bad. I always want to stay up at night, eating and reading, and end up eating much more that way. Even when it’s just fruit, it’s still eating when I don’t need to, so I don’t think it’s a great idea. And compensating by eating less for breakfast? Forget it. I love breakfast!

  • Nouran

    We usually eat dinner at 10:30 p.m! and I sleep at 1:00 a.m.
    I found that if I don’t eat anything after 8:oo my weight will still constant or maybe I’ll lose some. But this is not a theory! it’s maybe because when I eat alone I eat less.

    Thanks for your articles.

  • maria

    here in Greece we have that bad habit of eating late at night. We usually eat about 9pm or even 10pm and most of the times we don’t eat light… After a little while we go to bed. We know that it is very unhealthy but it has become a way of living… we cannot fall asleep with an empty stomach!!!

  • Campbell

    I have a theory that says, keep your core empty and allow your body to float on air. but in order to do this you must first be able to regulate ur own wieght with your diet and exercise. then you can eat as your body needs based off the amount of activity in your days. you dont need to clean that full plate if your body dosnt need it. save that small mean for later, and save money

  • Campbell

    I have a theory that says, keep your core empty and allow your body to float on air. but in order to do this you must first be able to regulate ur own wieght with your diet and exercise. then you can eat as your body needs based off the amount of activity i

  • Mia

    During sleep you burn 400 calories =) that’s good =) but i still don’t like to eat late at night because i can’t sleep then…

  • bond, james bond (haha)

    Simply put, the problem is not what time you eat, but what time you eat before you go to bed! If you eat 4-5 hours before you go to bed, then your body would have had to to digest and begin breaking down the food, thus, leaving you with an empty stomach before nap-time. However, if you eat late at night, then an hour later, jump to bed, you are really doing harm. This can cause obstructive sleep apnea and snoring (its not by chance that 70%-80% of plp with sleep apnea are obese). When you lay down, food goes from your stomach to the throat, the body’s response is to narrow the respiratory tract to prevent the food from entering the trachea. However, this defense mechanism stops one’s breathing which can lead to decrease in blood oxygen level….to oxygen shortage to the heart muscle (The Enzyme Factor, 88-89).

  • http://MarkLauren.com MLauren

    This is a great question along with an excellent point about the massive amount of contracting information that is readily available to “prove” any side of most arguments. Now, more than ever, we have to be extremely critical of what we read and believe.
    I encounter the “I don’t eat past xx:xx p.m.” statement often. I am a firm believer that the calories in vs. calories out argument holds true given a reasonable diet consisting of a fair split between macronutrients. If 2000 calories go in, every day, and 2000 calories are expended every day, no weight is gained or lost, excepting water weight. If the calories are mostly consumed in the evening, the calories not used for the repairing of tissues and restoring of glycogen will be stored as fat. But… the following day we can expect another period of fasting until it’s time for the night time feast again. During this period of fasting those calories stored from the evening prior will be burned, assuming everything remains the same. So, again, 2000 in and 2000 out become a wash regardless of when consumed, if we are consistent in our daily habits.
    The problem with late night eating isn’t the storage of fat during the night. The problem is that night time eating often pushes us over our alloted calories for the day. People often use their own example of weight loss using this technique as proof of the theory, but the weight loss was not due to the night time fat storage theory. The weight loss is due to the calories that they didn’t consume that they normally would have. Probably, by not eating past 6 p.m. they are consuming about 500-1000 calories less than they would normally. That equates to 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week.
    The problem with NOT eating in the second half of the day is that it neglects the benefits of eating small frequent meals throughout the day. By not eating past 6 p.m. a person that eats breakfast at 7 a.m. is fasting for 13 hours! That also only leaves 11 hours to get at least 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal bodyweight, and only about 30-45 grams of protein can be usefully processed per meal.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  • Arto

    As a for i have been work at night many many times and truth is that you need to eat something at some point. I find it easier just to go sleep when i dont eat about in 2 hours before sleeping. Also same goes when i wake up 2 hours i will be wake before i eat anything.

    But that myth i find pretty much to be one way to scare childrens not to eat at night and get them to sleep early :D

  • Karina

    Hi guys. :)
    Well, personally I don’t need to eat before I sleep or dhort time before sleeping. But I have a friend who eats some time before sleep because of the bloodsugar… She sleeps bad if she don’t get the food. And sleep is important for us to function.. So i guess it is about habit and what you are feeling are the best for you. And of course what you eat.

    Take care. :) Great side. :D

  • KNathan

    I feel better in the morning if I don’t eat anything 1-2 hours before bed. I also suffer from Acid Reflux Disease and when I eat or drink anything other than water around 9pm (an hour or so before bed), I suffer a lot more from the acidic burning than I do normally. Also, by not eating past 7pm, my ARD medication seems to work better.

  • Mike B.

    I find no difference whatsoever, I work backshift and eat all NIGHT and I’ve lost 45lbs!

  • http://none lupita

    hello everyone,I`ve hear that the more muscle you have in your body that more calories you will burn even wen you are sleeping, so I believe that all depends on how much muscle you carrieand your body percent of fat.

  • Paul

    I agree with a few of the posts on here. If I eat at night I usually only have cottage cheese to avoid a raise in blood sugar levels, also anything to heavy or sugary makes sleeping harder for me.

    I am also a believer in the fact that if you eat food and are constantly active during the day then your body will try and use calories for fueling your activity.

    Surely it stands to reason that if people in sedentary jobs often struggle with weight gain due to eating whilst inactive then eating before sleeping would have a similar effect.

    This is purely my view though, I’m not a nutritionist but it works for me. I am 30, 74kg, 12% body fat and 30″ waist and I don’t really suffer from weight gain even though I am in a sedentary job.

  • bpatrick104

    Eating late is bad–with some exception. The best analysis I have seen for this is on the Hammer Nutrition website, and a recent article from the USA Triathlon news letter. To summarize both sources (which are pretty well researched, though I won’t go into sources here): First, a large purpose for eating is to replace glycogen stores. During sleep, the mechanism for glycogen synthesis is suspend–it won’t work. Hence, during sleep, food content (calories) either goes to the blood stream and/or begins its storage as fat. Is that a big deal? Well my traditional response would be “No.” As pointed out by another reader/writer, the same calories should have the same effect, “right?” BUT, humans aren’t quite the same as “gas tanks”–we have a lot of other stuff going-on. Insulin, in sleep, shuts down the bodies HGH production, a critical element for body repair–which is highest during sleep. So, the late food–especially food creating an insulin spike–has a negative element. Next, by taking calories later in the day, blood sugar could be low during the workout portion of the day–affecting both energy for the workout, and motivation. Finally, being in “fasting mode” during sleep sustains the heart reate in a position/function which is pretty good for fat metabolism. Protein–especially something highly digestible–and certain amino acids can increase HGH production. So, whey prot., or an essential amino, arginine blend, could be good at night–both staving hunger (whey does this pretty well) and helping increase HGH. I suspect that some vegtable (celerly and almond butter, which is satiating) could be useful if needed too. I break form myself too regularly, but think the best way is timing your calorie intake around training.

  • Didee

    I believe in calories in – calories out. Even “IF” you store calories eaten late at night – if you burn them off the next day, or the day after that – the end result should still be the same. However I believe in eating something an hour or two before bedtime to reduce the night fasting time.

  • http://sites.google.com/site/gyminifitness/home Rick

    They way I look at questions like these are to simplify them as much as I can and look at nature for my answers. If you are hungry you should eat. Your body is telling you it needs food. It is what you eat that matters and not so much when you eat. If you ignore hunger you will notice that you will get hungry less and less often. That is your metabolism slowing down and that is not what most of us want. So, I usually try to eat all natural, unprocessed, and whole foods before bed. Stay active, eat healthy, and learn to listen to your body.

    • Katie

      excellent, totally agree ! :)

    • bernie

      agree if you are skinny and don’t overeat. problem comes when you are overweight and you think you are hungry and you pack on the calories. hunger is not a good sign, for most, whether or not you should be eating. occasionally, i try to repress hunger so that i know i can control my hunger when i want to.

  • Cari

    My rule is eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m satisfied. With this way of eating i usually eat about 6 to 9 times a day, and yes that includes in the middle of the night. This often means that I won’t finish a meal in one sitting but then I simply pack it up for later. Also, I always make sure I have some sorta snack in my purse (usually dried fruit or granola) just in case I get hungry while I’m on the go. This has worked for me when i first started I was slowly loosing weight but now I’ve been maintaining the figure I want, plus I love not feeling bloated after I eat or weak from not eating enough. However if I’m in the mood for the munchies I make homemade popcorn (I use a air popcorn microwave bowl i got from target, it doesn’t even need oil to pop) or I will chew gum if I’m on the go. I know this doesn’t exactly answer the question but i find its better to eat in the middle of the night, plus your digestive system doesn’t have to stop “before you break the fast” at breakfast, just make sure if you do eat in the middle of the night its something on the healthy side.

  • Hannah

    When I eat late, I’m not hungry for breakfast. And there is nothing like satisfying a hungry tummy with an awesome morning meal. It just feels wrong to eat breakfast without feeling like you “need” it.

    • Snowflake

      Totally agree! I love waking up hungry and enjoying tasty breakfast. It a perfect start of a day.:)

  • Tamara

    I read that eating late at night messes with your sleep quality because your body has certain maintenance functions it performs while you sleep, and digestion takes energy away from those processes. (I don’t remember where I read that, but it seems pretty obvious) I also read that getting too little or poor quality sleep can mess up your horomones and cause you to not only have more cravings but also cause your body to store more fat. (that’s from a recent article in “Body + Soul” magazine) Maybe that’s how they’re linked? If they are?
    Plus, I read in an Ayurvedic health book that the body goes through energy cycles/depending on which tasks the body is performing, and it’s best to eat around that schedule…
    similar to the concept that eating fatty foods when you’re stressed makes them stick to you because your body has different levels of horomones, etc. and reacts to foods differntly when it has stress horomones interacting with the food… (from a Shape magazine)…

  • ddt

    Hi,

    Just discovered this site after going to a Boot Camp yesterday. Great to see how to extend some of the things I learned and mix and match what I can fit in and when.

    I wanted to suggest a good source for diet advice — oops, this sounds like a solicitation but it’s not. The Berkeley Wellness Letter is a bunch of real scientists (http://www.berkeleywellness.com/) and probably a better source than About or AskMen… .

    Oh, and the photo of the sandwich being thrust out, triumphant, from the comforter, cracked me up. Good core workout!

  • James

    Ori Hofmekler seems every bit as fit as I’d ever want to be. He advocates consuming almost all of your calories at the end of the day (he’s one of those paleo diet types, I believe). Seems to me that you’d have to eat very clean foods in this method or you’d suffer terribly trying to get to sleep at night…

    http://www.warriordiet.com

    (I have no affiliation with him… but I’ve read some of his nutrition articles.)

  • Vanya Georgieva

    Hi guys!
    I am from Bulgaria and want to share with you that in my country we have a dinar after 7-8 p.m and usually lasts longer. I think it is too late for any meat but most people here do not think like me :) They like to eat and drink after a long day to relax and like on the table to have diverse food. This is a bad habit.
    I am absolutely agree with Moldoveanka. We have almost the same daily :)

  • Bronson

    It has been suggested to me that it be healthier to eat long enough before that nights sleep so as to not be starting the sleep cycle with a significant amount of food to digest. Reasoning being that ones body can achieve better rest when it is not working to digest food.

    My poor eating habits are at odds with this approach – likely be one of the contributing factors to why I carry 10+% more fat than I need and I am nearly always tired.

  • http://www.moldoveanca.ro Moldoveanca

    I just discovered your website and I must say I am fascinated :)

    I don’t think that the eating hours matter the most, but your daily habits. For example, for myself I discovered that if I eat a heavy breakfast, a medium-light lunch and just an apple or a yogurt for dinner I lose weight fast, I tend to feel better in the mornings and I sleep better at night. But that is because my daily habits go like this: early morning through late afternoon – full time job; at 5 pm I usually go to the gym or do some jogging; I spend the peaceful evenings with my family and usually I get very sleepy at 10 pm.

    So for me this program of eating works. But for someone who is a night owl and manages to fall asleep only at 4 am, obviously it wouldn’t work to have the last meal of the day at 6 or 7 pm (that would be 10 hours of not eating anything).

    Different things are right for different people…

  • Maria

    HI again guys !!! u’ve became my late night habit lol… cant go to bed without checkin your site to see if there is a new workout o fashion haul or read a topic. tonight i found this really interesting one

    I think its not the the time u eat but what u eat that matters…
    im from uruguay but been living in argentina for the past four years, and like Julia said(post http://www.bodyrock.tv/2010/02/09/eating-late-at-night-does-it-matter/comment-page-3/#comment-33472) here we dont have dinner before 9 or 10 pm (nor in uruguay though people there isnt as used to go out for dinner on weekdays as here) and u rarely see obese people.
    In my case having dinner at 8 would be reaaallllly early !! and almost impossible. I work till 7pm… stress myself to get to the gym a min before the 8pm taebox class starts (most days im not that lucky), then do some weight training [for the past month zuzana's workouts!! ;) ] and finally get home round 10.30/11 pm craving for sthg sweet and end up eating the first thing i find at 11 or 11.30… and then go to bed at 2am or more. Don’t have dinner much earlier at weekends either.. And i’m not even close to fat !! Of course im not skinny cause i have horrible eating habits… love chocolate, biscuits, sandwiches, and drink lots of coke [not diet coke.. just coke :S] and i must say that they are to blame for my extra pounds (i would be looot better if i dropped 3 or 4 kgs) not the fact that i dont have dinner at 7 or 8 pm.

    Hope your week rocks !!!!

  • anna

    every day i eat my golden delicious apple at 9:30-10:00 and then a while after that ill have a peice of dry multigrain bread or something, complex carbs. but i find that as long as your not stuffing yourself, and its all healthy that a late snack, or even a very EARLY snack ( 4:56 in the morning lol ) dosent make a difference at all. its more about portion suze and what the food youre eating is thatn the time your eating it. :)

  • Sammy

    end of the day its calories in vs calories out..eating late shouldn’t make a big difference, if any at all :)

  • Alopez

    I lost a whopping 40 pounds just by eating 5 to 6 times a day every few hours and exercising about 4 to 5 times a week. i took in originally about 300 calories per meal but now i eat about 500 calories for breakfast 150 calorie snacks in between meals and i try to eat a little less calories for dinner. i went from size 33 pants to size 29. i still can’t lose that lower abdominal region. waist is at 32 inches around the naval area and i want to knock it down to 30 but it keeps fluxtuating….:( i am male 5’6″ 142 lbs. 15% body fat.

  • SPRUDO

    Here’s my simple way of accounting for weight gain/loss -calories in (eaten) vs. calories out (expended). It’s a pretty simple equation in my mind. Matters not when you eat, but matters the total calories you eat vs. what you expend during your (24 hour) day.

    Cheers…

  • Clara

    Hey there =)
    it’s not that difficult to understand why eating late is less healthy than eating before 6 pm.
    It’s a question of habits:
    As in Spain, everyone is used to eating late, their digestive system is used to “working” until late.
    So if we eat late and sleep directly afterwards, our digestive system falls asleep, too. And our meals kinda ferments in our stomach. Toxic substances can’t get out and have to be “stocked” in fat so that they can’t harm our argans etc.
    So it’s only unhealthy to eat late if you’re not used to it and if you sleep afterwards. (Don’t mess it up with a short sleep after lunch…you get up and work afterwards and your digestive system is used to it!)
    …The best way is to find your own rythm…and don’t change it too often!

  • http://glycemic-index.org Tim

    I eat whenever I feel like it, not a regular lunch dinner etc.. I try not to feel hungry so that muscles aren’t eaten away and I never feel bloated, I ‘ve been eating late at night for years no – and I exercise regularly… have a lean and very muscular body and feel great about myself.

  • Shari

    All I know is that for those with diabetes, it’s important to eat a small snack of complex carbs & protein about an hour before bedtime so that the blood sugar levels don’t dip too low overnight & cause a real serious problem in the morning.

  • Noel

    well heres my problem.i kinda have no choice to eat very late cause i work the grave yard shift 10pm -50am. im hoping that wont be an issue because i usually eat big meals during work

  • Stephen

    I’m not a scientist or biologist, but it is my understanding that carbohydrates and sugars cause spikes in our insulin which trigger fat storage…One of the earlier post mentioned that the body rebuilds during sleep which is true…I feel that if you must have a late night snack, it should be a piece of lean meat, a cheese stick, or cottage cheese…anything high in protein(It has been shown that protien has zero effect on blood insulin), yet low in fat and carbohydrates…the body can use the proteins it digests to rebuild the body during the night…JMO…
    Best Wishes To All
    Until Next Time
    Be Safe
    Have Fun :)

    • dawne

      Hi,
      As a person who is studying human nutritional science to become a dietitian, I feel it’s very important to mention that insulin is not just a fat storage hormone, it is one of the body’s most important ANABOLIC hormones, meaning that it initiates the building of body protein as well as muscle glycogen. Fat storage only occurs when there is an excess of calories present. Even then, the body’s main source of energy during sleep comes from fat stores. This is not to say that a person should eat a tonne of simple sugars late at night expecting not to gain weight, be sensible everyone!
      My opinion is that timing of food intake should be more closely related to when activity happens for a person during the day: if they sit down all day but work out in the evening, it is totally appropriate for them to eat more in the evening, within reason. If they are very active during the day and tend to sit more in the evening, then eat more during the day and less at night. Truly, there is no definitive ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ time of day to eat, what is important is meeting your body’s needs throughout the day to maximize your energy and workout recovery, and minimize tissue damage.
      Zuzana’s recommendation to eat smaller portions many times a day is very good, and if a person eats this way, you likely will not have any issues. Great workouts too :)

      • dawne

        Also, protein does cause the pancreas to secrete insulin, as it stimulates cells to absorb the amino acids in the protein we eat, just to a lesser extent then carbohydrates :)

      • bernie

        read an article on a youth pastor sometime ago who went from heavy weight (300 lbs?) to a skinny 150 lbs. he stopped eating after 3 pm. his picture on the article was impressive.

  • Julie

    I have always been one of those persons who had dinner quite early… I’ve always tried not to eat after 7pm.
    I grew up listening to my mom saying: You need the breakfast of a queen, lunch of a princess, and dinner like a homeless! Which means we always had some light dinners, like soup and salad.
    Two months ago, I moved to France. I’m still basically eating the same amount of food as before (or even less I would say), but in different hours… Because they have dinner quite late here (around 8pm – late for me), I am eating a lot less for breakfast and lunch. And lunch now is usually just a simple salad or soup. In 2 months, I gained 4 pounds! I exercise, I take care of absolutely everything I eat, but I am positive that the reason for my weight gain is because my body doesn’t have time enough to process my dinner!
    So yeah! The time we eat does make a difference!

  • lexi

    actualy i think the problem is most people want to crave sweets and overindulge at night.

  • Kay

    Great post, thanks!
    I was wondering if you guys have any suggestions for easy-to-prepare health(y)(ier) late night snacks, for when I have to pull all-nighters, like right now: low on time, patience, and in a panic, wishing I had a gigantic bag of chips.
    Much appreciated.

  • http://[email protected] josh herna

    it is hard no to sknack at night

  • http://eatrightgettight.com(notpublished) Jennifer

    I’ve studied Holistic Nutrition off and on for several years, and through my studies I have found that the problem with eating late at night (as in right before bedtime) is that sleep is the time the body uses to repair and regenerate itself on a cellular level. When we eat right before bedtime, the body now has to use this time to digest the food we just consumed, instead of utilizing the resting period for regeneration. Therefore, if you absolutely must have a snack before you turn out the lights for the night, choose a small piece of fruit, which only takes around 20 minutes to digest, compared to 4-6 hours for more complex carbohydrates or proteins.

    • bernie

      great point! must keep in mind not to eat too much meat for dinner. i eat my last meal no later than 5-6 pm. my wife an i walk an hour later…

  • Armo

    Hi! I’m from Sevilla, Spain. I agree with Jordi, the young people eat less and less, but we still eat healthy. Most people here eat a lot of vegetables in each meal (almost all of our recipes have a lot of them), a lot of fish (almost in the south of Spain) and much fruit.
    Of course we eat fat too, but we have a varied diet and I think fairly balanced.I’m very happy with our culinary customs!!
    It’s true that we have dinner too late, about 10, but we have a light breakfast compared with other countries.

  • Keyonni

    Dear Ms. Zuzana and Fred,

    I’ve been hearing rumors about making breakfast the largest meal and dinner the smallest. Do you know if this is a myth or not? I was wondering because the logic behind it is that making the 1st meal the largest will be burned off easily since people are most active during the day, but eating a very small dinner is best since metabolisms slow down at night supposedly. Is that a bad way of thinking?
    Also on another note, can people with scoliosis do your workouts? They seem like they’d be hard on the spine and hips which is where most people with scoliosis have trouble.
    Thanks!

    • Pinar

      I’m also very curious about this question’s answer.

      Is that a myth or not? Most people say that metabolism slows down at night because of that don’t eat too much for dinner.

      Generally information on internet is so confusing i feel like i’m overdosed with information. I only trust and take advices from this site.

      Thanks

  • Jordi

    Hi. I’m from Girona, Spain. All I can say about our increasing problems of weight is that young people don’t eat as our parents. Youngsters don’t have enough time to cook and modern life has broken healthy habits.Fast food is very popular to teenagers. It’s a general problem of all the countries.

  • Theres

    I have been living in Spain, where as mentioned already people eat dinner very late 9 or 10pm, for 2 years now and still struggle with the eating times. The problem for me is that having eaten so close to bedtime I then wake up the following morning feeling full and with no appetite whatsoever. I then find it difficult to eat breakfast and have to force myself to eat even a piece of fruit. Everyone I know here eats a very light breakfast (glass of milk or coffee with a piece of toast or a few biscuits) and even though they seem perfectly healthy and slim it just seems wrong to start off the day like that having being raised in Ireland always being told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

  • Mad muffin

    I do love snacking late, do it almost every day and I do not gain any weight coz I work out like 3-4 times a week. However I noticed if I cut down snacking late I lose weight right away.

  • http://myspace.com/jesscensored Jesi

    This is the way I think of it. Let’s say I eat a regular hamburger in the morning, well I am going to be moving around and burning off the calories that were in the burger, But if I were to eat one at night I’m going to store the calories instead of burning them off because your body isn’t very active when you sleep right?

    Even though I do believe that late night eating will make you gain weight I still do it once or twice a month. Especially since I started doing Zuzana’s workouts, I’ve been getting hungrier and hungrier more often than usual, I don’t know if that’s good or not, but I seriously can’t help but increase how much I eat

    • jacob

      That hunger thing is true. I’ve been having some massive protein cravings now that I’m exercising

  • josh

    I been eating burgers every night for a moth and i gain 15 pounds. i guess it matters.

  • ALEJANDRO HUERTA D.C.

    Every physiologist knows that what you eat at night really affects your body weight. The reason behind it is the production of hGH (human growth hormone)and the effects of food on the production of this hormone. When you eat high carb food at night your body do not produces enough hGH. In contrast, when you do not eat 3 hours before sleep or take a low carb diner your body is going to produce more hGH. hGH hormon decreases glucose use by cells and increases body fat use during night.

    WARNING! please do not follow advises from people without education specially if this advise is about DIETING.

    PEOPLE WITHOUT EDUCATION SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM WRITING ARTICLES ABOUT DIETS.

    ALEJANDRO HUERTA D.C.

  • Kathryn

    I’ve found that when I eat late at night, it’s not because I spaced out my meals or not eaten enough the rest of the day – it’s because I’m up late working and looking for extra fuel (read: sugar, caffeine, quick unhealthy foods) to stay awake. So… in this instance, of course it is bad for me. Eating extra calories that are also especially fattening. When I get more sleep I weigh less not only because sleep is important for your body, but also because I eat less, and an exponentially smaller amount of my diet is junk food.

    • josh

      yes thats true

  • angela

    I workout in the evening and i have my post workout meal at around 10.45pm. My diet is clean as I do strength training and I have not found a problem with eating late at night..AS LONG AS YOU PICK THE RIGHT FOODS AND EXERCISE.

  • Tony

    If I consume my total daily calories by 8:00 pm anything afterward is extra . Extra means extra work to keep off my body. I plan all my calories thus meals around the time awake keeping meals and snacks often, every 3-4 hours. Last meal right before bed being cottage cheese or salmon, both being slow digesting proteins.

  • Kirsten

    I apologize in advance for this being a long comment. I struggle a lot with emotional eating at night. I do well during the day with my 5 or 6 meals but then just binge at night. The thing is, it’s easier for me to stick to a workout plan when I’m eating well because I heard that if you eat too many calories and work out you bulk up. But I can’t expect my eating habits to become perfect overnight…so do I continue exercising even though my eating isn’t perfect or should I improve my eating habit before I start exercising?

  • John

    I used to fight jiu-jitsu and judo competitively. So I trained 6 nights a week and ate whatever and whenever. Over the years I put on a few pounds here and there. I was working out, but not like when I was fighting.

    About 5 months ago I saw myself on video and went out and bought a scale. I took the scale back and bough a scale that would weigh up to 450 lbs (205 kilo). My fighting weight was 310 lbs (140 kilo). (I am close to 6’5″ tall, about two meters) I was at 425 lbs (194 kilo).

    In 5 months I have lost over 65 lbs (30 kilo) and I eat my last meal at 9pm every night. I go to bed at 11pm. I firmly believe calorie in calorie out. I do not eat junk before bed, and I exercise a minimum of three times a week for two hours lifting and cardio.

    If you are eating right and working out you are fine no matter when you eat.

  • Carson

    Hi,

    The reason why late-night eating might increase your fat is simply because you may not have exercised much during the evening. If you watch TV and eat snacks and then go to bed, your metabolism is way down. Exercise all by itself does not really reduce your weight very quickly, but what it does is to set your metabolism up to speed—and here is the trump card: AFTER some good exercise, your metabolism STAYS at speed for several hours. Okay, so you skip the evening television and go for a run every evening instead. NOW, If you were to eat the very same snacks as you did when you were watching TV, your body would CONTINUE TO PROCESS those foods even during your first few hours of sleeping, because the evening exercise had your metabolism humming along. (And I’m going to ignore the likelihood that your snacks would also be more healthy food if you were exercising, just to keep the comparison on an even footing.) Yes, a calorie is a unit of heat energy; but how EFFICIENTLY WE PROCESS that energy varies considerably according to our metabolism. (As everybody discovers after age 50 or so.)Got it? So eating at midnight is just fine—unless you’ve been inactive all evening, which I’ll bet you have been. :)

  • elina

    I agree with scott each person is so different, and honestly if the whole idea of “calorie in, calorie” out was 100% true , it would be so easy to loose weight, just eat less than you burn, and you good to go, but how many people actually tried that and it didn’t really work for them? My opinion a lot of people, including me, thats why I srongly believe that there has to be something besides calorie in calorie out, it could be the sugar, fat ratio to total calorie intake, time of the day you eat, how big o how small your meals are, how often you eat, you BMR and so on….I’m in my second trimester now, and I am supposto eat no less than 2,500 calories to maintain my weight, well the thing is I cant no matter how much I try reach that much calories in the day, I mean I eat anything I want and whenever I want but its just always turnig out to be 1700-1800 maximum a day . And am I losing weight NO!!!! So please explain does the calorie in calorie out really work? Infact I gain in average about 1 lb a week now (remember I’m prego so thats a good thing)

    • Kathryn

      Calorie in – calorie out HAS to work from pure logical science. Something cannot be created from nothing. The poor science lies in effectively MEASURING how many calories are going out, and people’s general tendency to UNDERestimate how many calories are going in (either intentionally or unintentionally). For instance, 2500 is an estimate to make sure you eat enough for you and your baby. But if you’re gaining weight eating what you’re eating, then the facts say that you are burning less than 1700-1800 calories per day. The estimate target of 2500 does not mean that’s what you are actually burning.

      I only believe that for actual weight, by the way, and keeping in mind that if body composition changes, weight will change also (muscle weighs more than fat, etc). I believe that body composition depends primarily on what nutrients you are eating – protein, fat, carbs – what your body can do with those nutrients, and your fitness regimen.

      One other point on weight is water weight. I don’t know how pregnancy works with that, so I’m not going to even try – in fact, if you are gaining water weight through the pregnancy, then it might refute my “you have to be burning fewer calories than you’re eating to be gaining weight”. I don’t know, ask a doctor. But water weight can fluctuate quite a lot – I gain at least a pound from the beginning of spin class to the end because of the massive amount of water I’m consuming to stay hydrated. (I’ve tested this). Maybe I’ve actually gained less than a pound (or nothing?) if I take off my sweat-soaked clothes, which now weigh more than they did at the start of class, too. But the point remains, water weight fluctuates, especially if you are not consistent in your hydration habits.

      So it is definitely more complicated than “eat fewer calories and you’ll be fit,” but calorie in, calorie out absolutely has to work just under scientific principle.

      • Kathryn

        Note: the ineffective measuring techniques are where metabolism comes in. there is no (mainstream) technology available to accurately measure how many calories you are burning at any given time, at least not to my knowledge. all we have are estimates – which do work for some people, but certainly cannot be expected to work for all because of the individual differences Scott talks about.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/gatopam pam

    well obviously isn´t the same eating late night a burrito than an apple as well drinkin a soda than water ;D.

  • Scott

    There seems to be one thing that everyone is over looking here. Not every person is the same as far as genetics, metabolism, body shape (naturally thin or heavy), many people are carb sensitive and others can eat them all day without any weight gain, or struggle to gain weight no matter how much they eat.

    What I am saying here is, it doesn’t matter if one person gains weight by late night eating, its all about how YOUR own body controls your OWN weight.

    If your finding one person is eating late and still remaining lean that isn’t the signal that you will be the same.

    You need to KNOW your own body, if your seeing signs of weight gain by eating too much later in the day, then ease off the amount and reduce your intake during these times. It’s YOU that counts, not a 1000 articles on somebody else’s results.

    This is a very individual thing guys. Take care and stay healthy :)

  • Scott

    There seems to be one thing that everyone is over looking here. Not every person is the same as far as genetics, metabolism, body shape (naturally thin or heavy), many people are carb sensitive and others can eat them all day without any weight gain, or struggle to gain weight no matter how much they eat.

    What I am saying here is, it doesn’t matter if one person gains weight by late night eating, its all about how YOUR own body controls your OWN weight.

    If your finding one person is eating late and still remaining lean that isn’t the signal that you will be the same.

    You need to KNOW your own body, if your seeing signs of weight gain by eating too much later in the day, then ease off the amount and reduce your intake during these times. It’s YOU that counts, not a 1000 articles on somebody else’s results.

    This is a very individual thing guys. Take care and stay healthy :)

  • Ode

    I have eaten late for the past 29 years and so have my parents and brother. We’ve always eaten lots of fish, chicken, lean meat, and with every meal vegetables(we also love cheese). We’re all lean and healthy so at least for me eating late suits just fine.

  • Eva

    Ahoj Zuzi. What about some new lunch and snack recipes? I am longing for them ;-)

  • P

    i eat dinner around 6 or 7 and dont get to bed until 10 or so. i was finding myself literally going to bed hungry and waking up even hungrier, so that ended very quickly. i decided that i wasnt going to torture myself anymore and go ahead and eat myself a night time snack. i usually go for a veggie (carrots, celery, tomato, olives) with some sort of seasoning (no oils!) and if i feel very hungry i will go for a small bowl of sugar-free shredded wheat cereal (with skim milk) or soup. what i’ve found is that i’m still loosing weight at a healthy rate and that late night snacking had not effected my weight loss goals. in two months i’ve lost 10 pounds (4.5 kilos) along with exercise. i think if you just make the right choices, time fo day shouldnt matter!

  • Marina

    hi guys, i can say that i have tried all the other way around :) i do not have a strict schedule about eating, but i try to stay far from the fridge after 8 p.m .This summer i went to Italy, Rome, for the month of august, their eating regime turned out to be totally different from mine, but i decided ” If i’m in Italy, i should act like one “… bad idea, very bad… for a month i had my diner at 10/11 p.m.and it wasn’t tea, but pizza or macaroni and cheese, because they like to have diner outside with friends and family.
    When i got back come, i have realised that i went from 56 kg to 59 kg, which is a lot to gain in a month. now i’m in my 57 kg.Which is good. :)
    A few weeks ago i’ve watched a tv-show about healthy food. And they said that, NOT EATING BEFORE SLEEP, IS BAD !!! because even when we sleep, our body works, and if we go to sleep and we’re hungry and our body has nothing to work with, every little piece of food going in in the morning, will transform into fat.
    Now i do not like EAT EAT before sleep, but i do have a tea (no sugar) and a slice of bread with butter + in the mornings, the moment i wake up, i drink a glass of water on an empty stomach, and after an hour i have my breakfast.
    Oh Oh… another thing :) I stopped eating meat two weeks ago, which feels great btw, and i have no intentions in eating it again any time soon . But i do compensate with milk, eggs … so that my body wouldn’t suffer from lack of vitamins.
    And i do your daily work-outs, not as many rounds as u do Zuzana, but i’m inprooving !!!

    Yeah, this is pretty much it, my interesting experiences that i’m going throught :)

    Thank you for your videos, and let me know what you think about NO MEAT !!!

    Cheers xxx

  • Alex

    Whenever you find clear evidence for opposite points of view, there’s almost always a very simple answer. They’re both right!

    I’ve read the literature, and the time at which you eat matters. But it matters differently depending on what you eat! Confused?

    It’s all about insulin sensitivity! Insulin sensitivity, or how able your (non fat) cells are to respond to insulin and shuttle nutrients in from the bloodstream, changes through the day. For most North Americans, insulin sensitivity is lowest at night, after a day of being sedentary and eating sugary food.

    However, insulin sensitivity increases after your workout. Eating food with a low glycemic load also keeps sensitivity up (or rather, doesn’t make it go down). So depending on the level of physical activity, when the physical activity takes place, and what the diet is like, insulin sensitivity may be lower at night.

    BUT insulin sensitivity affects weight gain much more when you are dealing with sugary food than when you are dealing with protein and fat dominant food. So again, it may or may not matter.

    If you can’t wrap your head around all of this, follow this simple advice: try not to eat junk! But if you absolutely must, eating it early in the day or after a workout will cause the least amount of damage.

    I love the website, keep up the great work!

  • Carla

    Hi,
    I’m from Spain, and as you have said we usually have dinner later comparing to other countries in Europe. My family and I, for example, have dinner around 10p.m or even later, and no one of us has weight issues. Also, most of the people I know have dinner at the same hours and they aren’t over their weight neither. In Spain, in fact, is quite usual to have a “siesta” which means sleeping a bit after lunch (for us siesta would be around 4p.m) and nobody gains weight because of this, if so, much more people in Spain would be fatter.
    That’s why I think that is more important to eat healthy and to exercise, than worrying about what are the best hours to eat. :)

  • Carla

    Hi,
    I’m from Spain and as you have said we eat really late at night comparing to other countries in Europe. My family and I, usually have dinner at 10:00p.m or even later, and no one of us has weight issues. It’s also true that we never eat junk food and that we try to eat healthy, but most of the people I know, have dinner also around 10 p.m and they aren’t over their weight neither. In Spain is quite usual also to have a “siesta” (which means sleeping a bit after lunch- for us siesta would be around 4p.m)and that doesn’t make people gain weight. If so, much more people in Spain would be fatter…
    That’s why I think that is more important to eat healthy and to exercise, than worrying about the hour of your dinner. :)

  • Suzanne (Zsuzsanna)

    Hi there!
    About eating late: there is a Hungarian guy called Norbi, who developed a system which will help you to loose weight without starving. The main part of the system is to allocate food to different parts of the day. There are food which are restricted up to midday (the white flour, sugar..), there are food you can eat up to 3 pm (potatoes, rice, wholemeal bread..) and others which you can eat up to 10 pm (veg, meat, oat..). I have done this for 1.5 months and doing excercises 5-6 times a week (20-25 min each) and lost 4 kilos and I didn’t control my eating any other way, didn’t take pills or any other ‘magic’ (didn’t starve, when I was hungry I ate something). I think it works brilliantly. (I don’t want to promote him, I just think his system works. Of course all the foods are categorised, so you can find everything on his list, so it’s not as simple as above). Reading Zuzanna’s food recipes, I think she uses the good (evening) ingredients so doesn’t have to worry about the weight gain.
    Yes, it is about timing!!

  • D

    Oh and- what do you guys eat for your last meal?;)

  • Domi

    Hi Zuzana,
    I’m just curious about the time you eat your last meal?:) I tend to eat late- 9 or 10pm, but I’m on my way to change it! ;) Last summer I was more strict and I was stopping myself from eating very late and I must admit that I lost some weight, but the thing is that I was eating more healthy, so I can’t really tell…

    Take care!

  • h2

    I strongly disagree. If this was true, we all can eat one huge meal a day, and not suffer any hit on our metabolism which is dead wrong. Also your metabolic rate decreases when you sleep, so you burn a less calories then when you are awake. It has been proven time and time again that the timing of your meals and the portions have an impact on your metabolism. I have lost a lot of weight just by modifying my eating habits: 5 light meals a day, each under 500 calories, heaviest meal being in the morning and lightest a couple of hours before I go to bed.

  • Saad

    Hi every body
    I think the idea that makes bed time eating is not healthy comes from the fact that your BMR decrease at night because your activity decrease .

    because that try to put most of your daily calories in the breakfast and in your lunch by a little amount
    and the least calories at the dinner .

    Saad

  • Linda

    Though this has nothing to do with eating late at night, it does go under the diet section. This semester I am taking yoga classes and my teacher said something extraordinarily interesting about microwaves…She said that mircowave food is dead food. The way a microwave works is it vibrates the cells so fast they explode and or die. Basically, you end up eating food without any nutritional value whatsoever. The food you’re eating is dead, it gives you no energy or nurtition. I don’t know about you, but that ruins my appetite knowing that I put in there gets even more dead and gives me absolutely no nutrition…then what is the point of eating-just to fill up our stomachs? We are what we eat…Thinking about it, maybe that is just one factor of why people today are so ‘dead’ or ‘depressed’ because of what they eat-when it’s dead already…

    What do you think?

  • Janilyn

    hey zuzana!
    in singapore we eat 24/7, anytime and the food we have around arent exactly healthy.
    personally when i was doing shift work on school attachment, i would get to eat only at 10ish.
    but i would only have grapes and beans most of the time or fruits. and i’ll exercise for 20mins after resting for half hour.
    over a span of 3 months, my weight remained the same and i dont feel excessively hungry in the morning.
    when i went back to working office hours, i would eat around 7odd and have yoghurt at around 9-10. but the next morning i would feel super hungry and would tend to want to eat more during breakfast.
    i do believe that eating heavy at late hours would definitely be bad as your stomach will tend to get bigger as i’ve watched my parents snacking at the tv during the nights and over time they’ve gotten a tummy!
    so i guess if its actually no different to eat whatever time of the day, just make sure that the “late night” foods are healthy and nutritious?? (:
    Cheers!
    look forward to doing the different workouts everyday! it makes me look forward to doing it every night when i get back! :D D
    loving the fact that the workout varies to kill the boredom!

  • http://www.preciouspetslove.com Heidi Daniel

    My biggest challenge is keeping my meals small in the evening. I eat really well all day but at night my portion sizes are too big-it’s the biggest meal of the day for me and usually consists of more fat and carbs. I am going to start to eat no later then seven but focus more on vegis (warm) for comfort and a protein but size of palm. I am going to look for new ways to comfort myself in the evening instead of sabotaging what I’ve worked so hard all day for. I know the times when I cut down on complex cards, like bread, ect in the evening I lose about five pounds easy. It’s really a comfort for me and a stress reliver. It’s like I am rewarding myself for the day with a larger meal. I think If I need more food on my plate in the evenings I am going to make fresh vegis the main ingredient. My snacks during the day I am have fruit or raw vegis and this makes a huge differnece. It’s really true eating is 80% responsible for weather or not you can see your muscles and not be covering up with fat. Working out is not my challenge is eating. I use eating to lower my stress and make me feel good. I’ll keep working on that one, and Zuzana is helping me so much with this one.

  • http://www.myspace.com/pumpish Roman Karpovich

    Hi!
    I allways eat some kind of protein meal before I go to sleep.
    Mostly fat free cottage cheese.

    By the way you are very beatiful girl and your body is amazing! :P

    Please visit my homesite and check my band and my movies on youtube

    Thanks! /Roman

  • Moose

    I strength train intensely three days a week. I’ve personally found that if I don’t eat after 6:00 PM that it’s much easier to reduce my body fat. I’ve read that your brain consumes significantly more energy when you are awake and alert versus when you are asleep. A side benefit is that I sleep more soundly when my stomach doesn’t have much food in it.

  • http://www.tanyaloca.com Tanya

    I truly believe that it doesn’t matter how late you eat. It’s what you eat. I am from the Philippines and moved to Seattle. I still eat around 8ish or 9ish for dinner. Then sometimes have a midnight snack.

    I remember when I stopped working out for year and was very notorious with my midnight snacks.. and sometimes the snacks weren’t snacks.. they were full sized meals. So, I gained weight.

    I went back to the gym and did Capoeira… and I was back to my old self again.

    I still have midnight snacks… and they’re usually fruits. The problem is, once I eat the fruit.. it’s kind of hard to sleep. That is if I didn’t workout that day.

  • Pingback: Eating Late at Night — Does it Matter? | Fitness Advice, Workout … | France Today

  • Will

    F&S,
    I will do more research on the when to eat topic and post it.
    I believe it is important not to eat certain foods (fruit for example) about 3 hours before bedtime.
    There are some articles that I will find and post.
    Maybe I have it wrong but want to make sure first.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • ~Mary Liz~

    This is a great topic, because I was avidly told for a long time eating late at night was very bad for me. I tried to cut out that last snack and ended up waking up all through the night hungry, which made me grumpy all the next day because I was tired. There is a definate link between being tired and gaining weight.

    So, my son and I always enjoy a snack while reading at night before bed. It’s always a small healthy snack. I eat mine while he reads (he’s learning and practicing) then he eats his while I read to him a big story book. It is a wonderful bonding time, and we both go to bed with a comfortable feeling in our tummy. I think we sleep better and feel definatly better for it. I should add we both have Breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-snack-dinner-snack, pretty much in that order each day. Each meal is quite small, and healthy. We might come home eat a small warm dinner, then go outside and play for an hour or two and come back in and have another helping of that warm dinner :D . It really is good for focus and nutritional balance in the body.

    Anyway, I think the point is that each person is different. Each person should probably try out a few different ways and times of eating and decide for yourself how it makes you feel. It will not take long to realize if it is going to work for you. While I really have to have a snack before I go to sleep at night, I know there are people who probably are oposite myself. Be a scientist… make your own rules :D thats what makes life fun, and it’s the best way to do the best thing for the way your own body feels….and without doubt you can trust the way your body feels about something above what any article on the internet says it should be feeling about it ;)

  • Mike

    I’m from northern Italy, and we often eat quite late, compared to other countries. Generally you won’t find anyone eating before 7 pm, here, and 8-8.30 pm is a good average time. In southern Italy dinner can be even at 9 pm.

    I’m trying to lose weight (from 265 lbs to 165 lbs, currently halfway), and I’m just following the basic rule of burning more than what you eat.

    I always used to eat something at 11 pm or even later, and I’m still doing it. Not everyday, it depends on how tired I get back from work or gym, if I am going to bed at 10 pm I’m not eating anything at that time, but on most of my “normal” days I drink a cup of milk with a couple of biscuits, or eat some fruit (kiwi, apple) or a yoghurt. During weekends I also happen to have some “regular” meals at late evening, esp. if I am out with friends. Beware: not big portions, neither a lot of junk food (I wouldn’t say “junk-free”, my road is long, and keeping a proper psychological balance is part of the game ;-) ), but a good-size salad, with various ingredients, at 10.30 pm is nothing unusual for me, and this does not slow down my weight-losing pace, neither causes any other problem.

    My only time constraint on meals is that I won’t workout during the 2 hours immediately after lunch or dinner. I just don’t feel like doing it, I’d probably be able to complete my workout, but I feel like I were forcing my body to do something wrong, so I simply avoid doing that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Pisana?ref=profile#!/Pisana?ref=profile Pavlina

    My experience with this is slightly different. The lowest body fat I ever had was two summers ago when I was eating something very close to resembling the Warrior diet (fast during the day, eat during the night). I’d like to emphasize I didn’t follow that diet particularly (I don’t diet), it just came ‘naturally’ and it fit perfectly around my lifestyle ( I still eat like that when it suits me, during summers or about 1-2 days every week). For a women, you’d been very shocked if you saw the amount of food I could consume at dinner. BUT I was eating clean, I always had my workouts and I was super active during the day. I didn’t ‘worry’ that it’s too late to eat that much, I sat down and enjoyed my food, few hours later I enjoyed my dessert and the occasional glass of wine. I was my own personal guru.

    To summarize, clean, intuitive eating and an active lifestyle is the key for health (sorry for the cliche). If our ancestors did it, we can do it too. Everything else is just partly right amusing theories.

  • Rhys

    Hi…
    What about digestion time?

    my wife and I are enjoy fitness and quite active during the week and weekends and we generally eat around 6.30pm, but then my wife is uncomfortable all evening and finds that she isnt digesting until about 10.30pm!!..our diet is quite strict – we both kind of agree that she eats too quickly and not let her stomach break the food.

    Is this theory correct?..anyone else suffer like this, or can offer advice?

    Thank you :)

  • Robin Chopineaux

    Europeans do eat later, my husband doesn’t think”dinner” until around 8:00 p.m. We find here in France, unlike when we lived in the states, despite the rich foods, people are thinner.Especially women.
    Increased obesity, due mostly to the increase of fast foods, and their attempt to duplicate meals with French Fries.
    My explanation for late night meals,,,,you don’t tend to crave a healthy snack,,,most grab something quick, sweet or salty.
    Medical studies have shown those that awake in the middle of the night, are actually thirsty Not hungry.
    Blessings,
    Robin Chopineaux

  • Raul

    ;) ) I like your reference to our healthy Mediterranean food in Spain. In fact it is completly right. I’ve been for short periods in other countries like England and Canada and I’m pleased to confirm that there are no comparision with our food!
    Saludos desde Barcelona!!

  • Gabriela

    Hmm, I guess the problem with eating late are not the calories. I think the real problem is the disrupted sleep. If you eat a lot, especially carbs or sugar you signalize your body “keep going” and studies have shown that bad or little sleep can lead to obesity. I personlly stop eating about 3 hours before I go to bed, so that I don’t starve by then but so that my body has some time to digest and calm down. I also don’t drink too much water in the evening, ’cause I don’t want to have to get up during the night. I really think it’s all about the SLEEP! NOT the CAlORIES… :)

  • Ekaterina

    hi Zuzana and Frederick :)
    thank you for this article and all the others, you’re a constant inspiration! (BTW i just ordered a gymboss and gymnastics rings today, can’t wait to receive them and try your workouts!)
    i eat pretty healthy and if i have plenty of fresh veges and fruit available on hand, then late night snack (if i come late from work and haven’t had a big dinner) helps me go to sleep. it can be a chopped carrot, an apple or another fruit/vegetable/berry, maybe half a cup of yogurt with cinnamon or a glass of milk. i hate going to bed starving, it’s not a good thing for the body and apparently have been linked to weight gain. on the other hand if i’m watching a movie or hanging out with friends late at night, then it’s so very tempting to fish in the fridge constantly for more sumptious goodies. i stuck a picture of a female boxing athlete on my fridge to remind me what i’d be giving up, also i have really yummy breakfasts (omelet with olives and tomatoes, soaked whole grain barley with raisins and milk or a piece of toast with peanut butter and chopped peach sprinkled with seed mix) that power me through my training, so if i eat heavily at night then i don’t enjoy my breakfasts. these are my main motivations to keep it fresh and light at night.
    all the best
    kia kaha (stay strong!)
    Kat

  • Yasmine

    I have an interesting experience. I worked a busy midnight shift at a hospital. When I worked this shift, lunch for me was eaten at around 2 am. When I worked this shift, I was at my lowest weight and my fittest! As soon as I would get off from work (5 am), I would hit the gym hard. Then I would go home and sleep. My body adjusted to this schedule. I lost alot of weight at this time and did get 6 pack abs that I’d never had before. Once this ended and I got on day shift and a “normal” routine, I gained over 20 lbs even though my workouts were the same (only at a different time of the day).

  • Pingback: Eating Late at Night — Does it Matter? | Fitness Advice, Workout … | Italyt Today

  • http://chowbellabycassie.blogspot.com Cassandra

    I think we need to consider how going to bed with a full stomach can affect sleep patterns. We need sleep in order to regulate our metabolism and repair the body—human growth hormone (HGH) is released at night for these purposes. By going to sleep with a full stomach, it could disrupt sleep brainwaves because your body has to work to digest, thus making us not go through all the stages of sleep necessary to release HGH. So, while it doesn’t necessarily matter that we are consuming calories at night because your body will burn them off anyway, the problem is secondary effects of digestion during sleeping. If you go to sleep 3 hours after your last meal, your body is pretty much done with major digestion and you should have no trouble going to sleep and your hormones will be properly regulated.

  • Amanda

    I heard that eating late at night or right before going to bed, for that matter, is not that big of a deal at all… especially if you are eating small meals throughout the day. It’s when you are eating three large meals a day and get hungry at night, you are more likely to indulge in another big meal…. which then would be bad for the body because it would spike your blood sugar before going to bed…. So eat small meals… so you can eat whenever :P

  • esha

    Hi guys,

    here is a short but interesting article why eating 2-3hrs before bedtime is NOT recommended.

    http://www.fitnessspotlight.com/2008/02/25/fat-loss-101-master-the-basics/

    Personally,eating late night is more a psychological thing. I dont like the idea of eating heavy meals and waddling off to bed. Even if i am hungry i stuff myself with fruits or maybe some weetabix with nuts and milk, but avoid anything that will make me comatose.

  • Megan

    I tried cutting out late eating last summer and noticed a significant difference in not only weight but also I had less indigestion. Over the school semester I began eating late dinners again, and having late night snacks and I put on at least ten or more pounds. In short, I agree with the BBC:)

  • Pati

    have any of you cut out eating late at night? Did it make a difference? Are there any of you following a great nutritional plan, exercising regularly, who still hit the fridge (or eat meals) really late, with no effect? Are you in a country (like Spain, or Italy) that eats dinner closer to 9PM than 6PM? Tell us about it!

    I don’t like to eat at night, or right before I go to sleep, especially if it’s a heavier meal b/c then I can’t sleep well and I wake up feeling bloated and uncomfortable. I like to have a small snack two to three hours before I go to sleep(cottage cheese or plain yogurt w/ honey, or oatmeal w/ yogurt and berries) and wake up feeling a little hungry and excited to eat my favorite breakfast which is a piece of whole grain bread w/ almond butter, a cut up banana, and some honey, flax-seed & cinnamon on top :) I eat my “dinner” around one or two everyday, and after that I have small snacks. I keep my portions small b/c any increase easily causes me to gain wieght!

    • Julia

      I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and we usually eat around 9-10-11pm. We are also used to eat large caloric dinners because we share it with friends, family, etc. But it is very rare to see an obese person on the street… in fact, the average argentinian is thin. I think this probably has to do with the lifestyle in Buenos Aires, people are usually nervous, going form one place to another, only stopping to rest a while on sundays. In my case, it has more to do with genetics, i love to eat,i eat a lot, and i’ve always been skinny. Lateley i have gained some weight but the only different thing in my life are birth control pills, so i blame it on them (and i’m also having celulitis, terrible!!). So, i don’t think that it matters if you eat late or not, but if you do eat late it can mean that you sleep less and that for sure can make you eat more in the whole day .

  • DAn

    Well, I usually try to eat breakfast between 6:00 AM and 8:00 AM. And I try to keep the meals 500 or below with a snack between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As far a total caloric intake for the day, I try and keep it between 1500 and 2000 a day. 2000 on the most intense workout days. With most carbs consumed at breakfast and after the workouts. Keeping a journal of caloric intake is helpful. Although not all food is easily recorded at least you can make an intelligent guess as to what you consume.

    I eat my dinner at 5:00 and try to finish by 6PM or before and try to not eat anything the rest of the night. If I feel hungry, first I will drink water to rule out any potential hung pangs due to dehydration. If dehydration is not the case than I will eat som walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds. 1/4 of a cup is about 280 calories. Nuts are also high in minerals, good fats, and protein. Now 280 calories sounds like a lot, but to remedy this eat half of a serving and drink water to take up space in the belly. Then, off to bed.

    I read an article a while back that we burn about 1.2 calories a minutes sleeping. So that is around 576 a night for a good 8 hour sleep, and more if you can count caloric burn from the time one eats the last meal of the day.

    But to answer the question of less or no eating at night, YES, I have seen my midsection shrink if I don’t eat at night. So hopefully the six pack will come out of hiding!!

    Hope this helps.

  • sola

    It also has to do with the hours we keep in general. There were times in my life when I started work at 7am and went to bed at around 10pm, so having the last meal at 6 or 7pm was just fine. Nowadays I start working at 9am and never hit the sack before midnight, so if I was to have my last meal at 6pm I would be real hungry again just before going to bed – nightmare! I’ve noticed that I feel best if I eat a small meal every 4 hours, so 9am is breakfast, midday is my lunch, afternoon meal of some sort around 4-5 pm and I have one last meal around 8pm. That works fine for me, as long as all portions are small. I’d say my portion size has more influence over weight loss / gain than meal time.

    Sidenote: I feel terribly stuffed and immobile after big (read: normal sized) meals, to the point where I cannot order a standard meal at a restaurant any longer. If I was to eat a long Subway sandwich or a full IHOP breakfast all by myself in one sitting I’d feel sick & stuffed for hours afterwards. In restaurants, sharing a main course (without any starters, side dishes or desserts) is my secret. That way I get to enjoy all sorts of fine food, but never overeat myself. Additionally, I am able to afford organic, natural food of a higher quality if I order small portions or share meals.

    • Ges

      My boyfriend and I share our meals too! and when we are done we’re both full but not like where we can’t breathe! It’s nice to know we’re not the only ones who share : )

  • Mike PC

    Last year I gained about 40lbs in 12months. Yes that’s really bad considering I was an active gym member before I stopped and gained that much. This thing about late night eating and weight gain has truths to it. I found out that yes you do gain weight if you eat an “unhealthy amount” before bedtime. However there are 2 factors to consider: Your general metabolism(age counts too) and if you exercise or not.

    I found that the most unhealthy thing I did to gain so much weight was drink those giant size filled soda cups from fast food places before going to bed. And I did this for an entire year 4-5 days a week. My middle school teacher told us that the math to gain or lose weight is simple, eat more calories than you can burn and you gain weight, eat less calories than your body burns and you’ll lose weight.

    It doesn’t matter if you eat late night. What matters is how much you eat and how you are going to burn those calories the next few days.

  • http://www.muxdemux.com Vicki

    Hi!

    I’m half American, half Spanish, so I’ve tried both eating schedules (depends on where I’m living at the moment!) and I have to say I prefer the Spanish one. When I have dinner at 6 I’m usually starving by 10, so I prefer having lunch at 2, coffee at around 5, and dinner at 10.

    Does it make people fatter? I don’t think so — usually, dinner in Spain is much lighter than lunch. Obesity has gone up, especially in the younger generations, but I think it has more to do with the fact that kids are alone all day till their parents get home from work, so they get to pig out on junk food to their heart’s content.

    I don’t think there’s one magic formula, or a magic eating schedule. I think knowing your own body and common sense are crucial. In my case, I may have dinner as late as 11,30 PM, but I know from experience that in order to maintain my weight and keep my body fat down, I can’t go crazy on the carbs at night, so I’ll usually have some kind of salad with lean protein, eggs, fish, or soup. Sometimes I “cheat” and have some whole grain carbs, but as long as I don’t overdo it, I’m fine. Also, eating heavily at night gives me nightmares!

  • michelle

    I love your workouts! i think you are amazing!

    i have two quick questions:

    what is your insight on protein shakes? and if you take them how do you take them?

    what do you consider a good snack with low carbs? or even if they are cookies what do you suggest we look for in a ‘good snack’?

    • http://www.bodyrock.tv/ Zuzana – BodyRock.Tv

      Hi Michelle, I don’t eat any supplements. I cook and prepare my own food.

    • http://adamdouglasphotography.com Tiffany Stephens

      Zuzana has a few snacks in her diet section…check it out. I plan on making the gingerbread cookies soon, just lazy. She said not to overdo it. watch the vid

  • Mel

    Zu, I was wondering about something. After an excessive workout, especially after yours, I get pretty hungry. What would you suggest would be a good snack to give your body the nutrition it needs without ruining your effort of loosing fat? Thank you so much for all your efforts you guys put into this site!

  • Issportiness

    Hi, I have the same opinion than Victoria, maybe it’s because I’m Spaniard too ;) I dinner at 10:30 pm and I’m not fat at all. I try to avoid eating so much or heavy food at dinner because then I don’t sleep very well. I think it’s because heavy or grease food is hard to digest, so maybe 1 or 2 hour is not enough to assimilate. If you go to sleep without digest correctly you will sleep worse. So I think the dinner time isn’t an obesity risk factor, but what you eat it’s.
    I saw the other day my picture before-after (5 month between each photo)and I so happy with the result. Actually I lost 1cm in my legs but my upper body remain the same proportions yet. I’m motivated to be my best in every day workout. Also I cooked the farmer chicken and it was so delicious.
    Thank you very much!!! and sorry for my English. Bye

  • Nicole

    I think what a lot of people need to realize is that there is no ONE way to eat for everyone. All bodies are different, there is no other body that is the same or function exactly alike. So all if these scientific studies aren’t necessarily right or wrong. Eating late at night can cause weight gain to some and none to others. Eating fast food can cause weight gain to some and not others. There really is no magical diet or form of eating out there that is going to work for everyone. We just all need to start using common sense. You could eat a high calorie meal during the day and gain weight just the same if you ate a high calorie meal at night. A lot of nutritionist put their clients, who are having trouble sleeping, on a late night eating patterns that includes carbs as the staple so they can sleep better. I am probably in the best shape of my life and I always eat my dinner around 9pm, sometimes 10pm, because that’s the only time I can do it. When I tried to follow a “no eating after six or seven” diet plan I didn’t feel my best or feel like I looked my best. But I have friends who like to follow that way of eating and they love it and swear by it. Everyone is different. The key is to eat when you’re hungry and don’t eat crap or overindulge yourself. Obviously if your body is telling you you’re hungry you should eat (hunger is different from cravings). But hey, sometimes I like to have my ice cream before bed and I still sport a tight lean body and not because that comes naturally to me (because it doesn’t!) but because I know my limits and know that I cannot do that every single night…or every single DAY for that matter. Night or day in my opinion is all the same, as long as you are smart about your food choices:) Not all of us know what to do or which way to eat is best for our bodies. I highly recommend making an appointment with a Holistic Nutritionist if you want to know exactly which way of eating is best for you.

  • Celina

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to walk works for yourself. As a scientist, there are neurological mechanisms that paly a role in regulating eating, and yes if there is a problem with these mechanisms they can lead to weight gain.
    More than anything, its understanding if you really are hungry, rather than eating or not eating at certain times. Your body knows what it needs, its up to us to listen to it.
    As for the internet, science must be researched individually. Usually what is relayed in news or magazine articles that are easily accessible do not portray the results correctly.
    In conclusion, do your own research. Eat at different times, see when you feel the best, its different for everybody.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carlanunesdacosta?ref=profile Carla

    Guys for those of you who are too worried about their weight on the scale, check this vid out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVQH1PSNwfI&feature=sub he is hilarious but saying it like it is!

  • Adriana

    I definitely feel that I tend to gain weight and simply feel heavy and tired the day after I have eaten late.
    The lighter and earlier my evening meal is the better I feel the next day. My energy level is highly affected by what I have put in my body the eveneing before !! My husband however can midnight munch all he wants and it does not seem to affect him, at least not nearly as much as it affects me.

  • Volk

    Hi Frederick. thanks for the article. I was just asking myself that question just the other day. Weird.

  • Hal

    Ive been visiting your site for a few weeks and I really like it! I am a personal trainer myself and your site gives me fresh ideas!
    Being a trainer my schedule is CRAZY most days I dont get home to eat until 9pm or 10pm. Ive always been really skinny and never really had to watch what I ate but now as I get older Im starting to try to be more conscious…which is a hard habit to change after 25 yrs of eating whatever I felt like, Ive been training for about 3yrs and the more it becomes a passion and not just a job the more I what to have allover wellness and not just look good (which is a bonus).
    Starting this new year Ive really been trying to get a little more lean, and I was always wondering if eating to late would keep me from my goal. When I get home I do pick healthy things to eat, but Im wondering if just the time alone would hinder me from reaching my goal even if I am eating healthy foods. from reading your article and other things online I do think its more WHAT you eat when WHEN you eat.
    Any suggestions?

  • Eva

    I eat whenever I feel like it. It’s been almost 6 years that I don’t have a regular schedule (sorry for my english) so some days I can wake up at 2 p.m and stay up late until 5 a.m and some others I can wake up at 5 a.m and sleep at 6 p.m. Anyway, I adjust my meals according to what I feel at a certain time.

    I also heard many times that we shouldn’t eat after a certain time because the body stores the fat (??!!). It’s dangerous to believe that because many people who start a diet tend to be frustrated at some point and the bed time is the worst thing to deal with and it’s usually the moment when we show our will power. So it’s better not to think about times. I feel great to know that i can eat if i stay up late.

  • http://yt Rogers

    is yogurt good for less killos?

  • Antonia

    No its ok once in a blue moon to eat at night in bed as long is the type of sandwich that is like the one Zuzana is eating..( oh you little sneaky girl )ha ha..No I dont thing as a habit its good to eat at night not from anything that I read in a book but just not the way nature intended and when you go by the design of things usually its superior. Just like getting up early is better for you eyes to see the light and your mind and your health. If you get 8 hours of sleep its immportant and better then not but if the 8 hours of sleep is daylight hours its good but wont excel missing being up during the day.

  • Jennifer

    Oh and by the way, the picture just CRACKED me up! Thanks for the giggle today!

  • Jennifer

    I think it depends WHY one is eating. You see, I used to mindlessly eat if I was bored or maybe because others were eating at night. I can guarantee all of that was junk food. However, now that I am working on being the best ME I can be, I am mindful of why I am eating. Most of the time I have a very small snack around 7 p.m. and I don’t need anything else, but if I was truly hungry and the pangs would not go away, I would eat as little as I can while still being able to stop the hunger. Who knows? Maybe I ate less than I needed during the day. The difference is that now I am mindful of why I am eating, eating nutritious foods and listening to my body, if that is the case, there should not be any problems.

  • Mrcarlin

    What is the “intermediate month plan?”

  • Jessica

    What do you and Zuzana do?
    Do you cut off a eating time or do you two just eat whenever you are hungry, even at night time?

    Would love to know!

    Also, do you guys eliminate certain foods after 8pm? Carbs perhaps?

    • http://www.bodyrock.tv/ Zuzana – BodyRock.Tv

      Frederick eats before he goes to bed. I try not to eat at the evenings or at least just a very little so that I don’t go to bed hungry. I don’t think about eliminating only certain foods at the evenings.

  • Kami

    Hi guys!
    I don’t know about you but I usually get hungry around 6p.m., so I have my dinner between 6 and 7:30 p.m. the latest!! I just get up early for school, have breakfast at home and then I have lunch between 1 and 2, so I get hungry earlier, thus eat dinner at 6ish :D . I am also used to getting up early and getting sleepy earlier too and I prefer having my dinner earlier, not late at night.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carlanunesdacosta?ref=profile Carla

    Hey Zuzana,

    Did you know your videos are on several websites or blogs about exercising, losing weight, etc?

    check it out: http://www.semdieta.com/search/label/treino%20de%20resistência

  • Adil

    Oh yeah shine I forgot to mention that there is probably many other reasons for water retention aswell so its hard to say what the right thing to do is unless we know the reason behind it.

    Peace.

  • Adil

    Yes victoria it’s similar in Morocco too, it’s great too, because in the summer, night time is nice and cool, so everyone hangs out at night, which is probably the main reason this kind of culture started :)

  • Adil

    Shine, it is in fact the opposite, not drinking enough water makes the body try and store water. You gotta drink plenty of water to help with this kind of thing. Hope that helps. :)

  • Leanne

    Hi Zuzana & Frederick!

    I study nutrition and have done for a long time and for me, eating late at night causes me problems. If I eat late and go to bed on a full stomach, I wake up with a “food hangover”. Very tired the next day and sluggish due to my body working over night to digest the food I ate to late instead of resting when it should be!

    I sometimes go to bed with very slight hunger as I feel my body has no use for food before bed as I’ll just be laid there.

    I practice small portions of healthy nutritious food and eat only when hungry and this works for me.

  • Vilivil

    A few years ago I made the biggest mistake. No breakfast, a little dinner and chocolate and sweets just before sleep. And I gained a lot of weight. Now my last meal is between 7-9 pm. But if I eat at 9 pm it means that I eat some fruit or something really light. And I always take an half an hour walk before I go to sleep. And I lost weight. I personally believe it doesn’t really matter at what hour you eat, but it counts what, how much, and make some light move before you go to sleep.

  • Victoria

    Hi, everyone!

    I’ve been visiting your site since last November (and working out your routines) and I have to say thank you, guys. Your workouts really work! I started then with the “intermediate month plan” and, just a week ago, I changed to the advanced plan and the results are incredible. I feel now stronger, fitter and healthier. I didn’t need losing weight, but I needed some kind of exercises to strengthen my back and I found your site. Maybe it’s too soon to check any improvement (you know, records from the beginning until now), anyway I can feel it in my body and it’s enough for me.
    However, I started to write my amount of reps for each exercise yesterday because I’m curious now to see how much, fast and well I can improve from now until… who knows… one or two months… Or maybe even the summer (I share Zuzana’s words about “summer coming feelings”).

    Well, I’ve just decided to comment because I’m Spanish and I have to agree with that. Here people are getting fatter because they are eating even more like American people and forgetting how to eat well, like our forefathers used to, and this is very sad. One of our best things is the Mediterranean diet and we are changing it for junk food! Horrible!! This is the reason for our current obesity rise and not the dinner hour. I usually have my dinner about 9pm (sometimes earlier, other times later, even near 10pm) and I’ve could prove with myself that eating “later” isn’t a problem, the problem is what do you eat. If you eat healthy and balanced, do some sport,,and rest correctly enough time, anything more matters.

    Well, sorry for this laaaaaarge comment (and if I did some mistake with my English, I’m sorry again) and one last thing, thanks again for your hard work, guys.

    P.D.
    In Spain it’s normal going to bed at 12am or 1am. Our TV prime time starts at 10:30pm, more or less, and our pubs close at 3 or 4am on weekends. Even our luch time starts later, about 2-3pm. I know, it seems insane XD

  • Shine

    well, from my experience, eating late at night bloats up the stomach, and in the morning, my waistline grows wider. if im hungry, i’ll just stuff myself with water at night if it’s after dinner. I also have a question about drinking water at night. People say that you shouldn’t drink so much water throughout the day especially at night or else you’ll get water retention and it’ll make your face look fat. Is that true?

    • Audra Gatti

      Hi Shine,

      The opposite is actually true. If you don’t drink enough water throughout the day your body will retain water/bloat. I drink 2-3 liters a day. Also try to cut down on salt because it too will bloat you.

      Hope this helps ;)

    • Antonia

      Hi Shine,

      What a cool name. Well the puffy face will occur for more than one reason IF you have something that will cause you to retain fluid. Say if you eat salty chips this can be like a catch mit for fluid. If you drink alot of water you will see more puffiness. I am not saying not to drink water but if you have a problem (like me) it does not filter through normally. Other people may never get “puffy”.
      There are many conditions that cause fluid retention. A little bit mind you that causes no real change should not be a second thought. But if you look like a pumpkin or chipmunk cheeks this could indicate one.

      Hope this was a little helpful!

  • Yasemin

    Funny coincidence that I found this topic this morning as last night at around 2 I had such a craving and I so badly wanted to eat the banana in the refrigerator!!! But I made a major war with myself, won ıt and the banana is still in the refrigerator, haha..
    As far as I know, though I am not an expert, late eating is bad for your digestive system because ıt needs time to clear and repair itself at night. Your body needs that kind of fast at night(they say 12 hours ıs good) and breakfast is named so because ıt breaks that fast…And I read somewhere that ıf u eat things that will increase your insulin levels at night, the growth hormone that repairs your body during sleep will not be secreted.
    Of course I am not a scientist but all these make sense as we are not nocturnal beings…and ıt is always best to follow the natural course:)) I think it is OK to eat late once in a while but ıt is not good to turn it into a habit!!!!your picture is so funny:))
    Lots of love:)))

  • Sarah

    Also, Zuzanna, i’m sure i read that you said you stopped eating after 7pm yourself so do you think that eating in the evenings is going to make you fat? you’ve not actually commented on what you think and how you practice this yourself?

  • Tina

    I don`t know about this, it is so individual…everyone should test on him/herself what works best.

    I just know that I feel soooo much BETTER if I don`t eat late at night. The latest snack for me is at around 6-7 pm.
    This way I feel great, with no heavyness in my stomach, I sleep great and feel great in morning and breakfast is sooo good! :D

    In the oposite, if I eat late at night, I have heavy stomach, can`t sleep well, I have nightmares and in the morning I just feel like a crap. And breakfast is just nothing special.
    That`s me and that`s why I have all the reasons in the world not to eat after 6 or at least 7 pm.

    Best wishes,

    Tina

  • maria

    Well, i live in portugal(spain is our neighbour) and we eat around 8/9 pm..(me, because of my lifestyle i eat around 11pm)…For me,i doens´t matter what hour i eat… i think is more about what you eat and not about ewhat time do you eat…But it´s my opinion;)

    Great site,Btw..Keep the great work

  • Sven Neumann

    I try to eat small portions, but I don’t eat as often as I should. I’ve lost good weight over the past few months, and am correcting an overindulgence a year and a half ago. My problem is more that if I eat to early and work late, I get hungry again and wouldn’t be able to sleep. Or sometimes I forget and it get’s too late for a proper meal. Often I try to go fro a shallow bowl of cornflakes to still my hunger so I can sleep comfortably. What is a good hunger quenching snack late at night, when you have little time?

  • http://www.facebook.com/carlanunesdacosta?ref=profile Carla

    I believe in the old fashioned approach to clean eating with small portions. It does not matter in my opinion whether you eat at 5 or at 10 in the evening.
    It is all about the amount of calories you consume on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis that establishes what you look like.

    you are what AND how much you eat. It is that simple. :)

  • Weronika

    Zuzana and Frederick. I would like to read a good book about healthy and clean eating. Which of Michael Pollans book can you advise me? And are there othe authors/books which you can recommend me? Thanks a lot !
    PS. And thanks a lot that I´ve lost 4 kilo just with your workouts, your articles and your inspirations. Please never close the “workout archive” !

  • Weronika

    I am doing 3-5 times a week workouts (mostly zuzanas) and eat 5-6 small(er) portions and now I weight 4 kg (or 8lbs) less than before! And because I often workout at 7/8pm I have to eat at 8/9 pm – but always very small portions and mostly vegetables. I think it doesnt matter when you eat. It is more important to eat enough (not overeat) and regular (5-6 times a day and not just one very big fat meal)

  • Eliza

    I think everyone human is different and our bodys work in a different ways. I have friends who never work out, who can easily have a pizza at 11pm or something like that and they never gain weight. There are people who have to work out hard every day and really watch what and when they eat, like me. I have to work out 1 hour every day, i dont eat after 6pm (i go to bed around 11pm) and i do 30 minutes yoga before bed time…If i’m not doing all that i do gain weight very VERY fast. So i think nobody can tell you when and what should you eat, only you know what works best for you.

  • ozziepossum

    My experience is probably not the norm. I’m a shift worker, so I am often working from 7pm to 7am, sitting at a desk job! So, I was scoffing junk food, loads of sugar etc to get me through the night. As a result, I put on a load of weight and felt very uncomfortable.

    A few months ago I had a total revamp of my diet and have noticed a HUGE difference. I still work night shift but I’ve cut out all the bad sugars and chips etc. I eat a small meal or snack every 3 hours. If I feel the need to snack, I eat almonds with dried cranberries (that’s my sugar fix) or an apple. I still drink coffee, but without the sugar or sweetener!

    I have my last meal at about 6am (boiled egg whites) and I’m in bed by 8am!

    I think it all depends on WHAT you’re eating, not WHEN you’re eating, but I would say a large meal before bed is not a good idea.

    Dee

    Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, WORK IT OFF!!

  • Toby

    Obviously there is no more calorific value to food if you eat it late, but there is a difference in the amount of calories you are using. The body’s metabolism will drop significantly while sleeping, so if you’ve just eaten more calories than were needed to replenish glycogen stores, they’ll be stored as fat. If you’d eaten the same meal several hours earlier you’d have been more active and used some of the energy.

    A lot of diets advise not eating carbohydrates after 6 or 7 pm. Carbohydrates turn into energy very quickly, so by eating at night you can easily quickly flood your body with energy you won’t use and it will be stored as fat.

    Having said all that, if you exercise regularly your body does need to repair itself at night and especially if you are trying to gain muscle. I’ve found that a meal at around 7 or 8 with no carbohydrates and a protein shake just before bed works well.

  • katiara

    well, I have heart monitor and I tried to sleep with it at night, over all night (when I slept ~8hours) I burned 700 calories, while in a day time I burn the same amount over 3-4 hours. So probably eating before bed it’s not so good after all.

    P.s. great job with website and workouts. keep going, I really enjoy watching it every day (:

  • Nimer

    Frederic and Zuzanna hi!!!

    I tottally agree with the fact that there r so many studies and controversies about allmost everything that have to do with dieting and excersicing. WE will go 2 the gym and each instructor will tell you something else about every excerise or your diet etc.

    BUT:

    eating late at night is a sign, for people that might not have a proper sleeping routine and that is something that might cause you weight gaining!!!- without sleeping the body is stressed and as a result the metabolism will go down, and then sometimes you might eat right and excersice but if you dont sleep the amount of hours your body needs you wont loose any weight and maybe youll even gain some. Thats pretty important to say because who make really late night dinners its probbably people taht work till late, and some of them have 2 wake up every morning at the same time like annyone…

    At teh end ogf the day every person reacts differentley, and one will tell you eating late make him/her gain weight and the other will keep loosing allthough that fact….

    Tankx 4 bringing interesting topics

    NImer

  • Sarah

    I quite often eat around 9pm as i have a light dinner about 6.30 so i can get hungry again. however, i will only eat an apple, a piece of rye bread, a yogurt or some nuts! I understand that eating late at night doesnt’ necessary make you “fat” but if you have a heavy meal within 3 hours of going to bed, it will effect your sleep and thats because your body needs to rest at night, not digest a massive meal which is why you will wake up feeling lathargic – your body has not had the rest it needed?!
    I personally feel much better in the morning if i’ve not slept on a full stomach so i try to avoid it! Plus i enjoy my breakfast so much more!
    i think its a matter of common sense again really – eating an apple at midnight isn’t going to make you fat, eating a large pizza after a bottle of wine and then falling asleep is somethign different but again, it comes down to someomes overall lifesyle anyway – even if you did that once a month, i’m sure it wouldn’t make you obese suddenly?!!

  • S

    I think it’s interesting you mentioned Spain…I’m currently living in Madrid (moved here about a year ago) and I was shocked by how late they eat! Then I started noticing how they eat in the restaurants. Gathering for meals here in Spain is a big deal. Food is very important especially with families. People really take their time eating while talking. Dinner can last about 5 hours!! Also, the portions are very small compared to the states. The biggest meal in the Spanish diet is during lunch which will last about 3 hours and again the portions are nothing compared to the states.

    I think it all comes down to healthy eating and taking your time eating. It made a huge difference for me! Since I live in Madrid sometimes I’m forced to eat late if we go out to a restaurant but usually I like to have my dinner around 7 and if I’m hungry later I’ll have a banana or any type of fruit and lots of water. I end up sleeping well and looking forward to breakfast the next day ;)

    -S

  • Gabrielle

    I believe the thing is what sort of food you eat before bedtime. If you just eat some proteins before going to sleep it will help your body to protect your muscles during the night. Proteins are good for building and protecting your muscles. Your body has a very difficult time turning proteins into bodyfat. Carbs and fat are very easily turned into bodyfat. If you consume more carbs and fat then you expand, it will turn into bodyfat. If you’re working out a lot you will need some proteins to help building your muscles. Proteins will help you with that.

  • Maya

    What I noticed is that when I eat late next morning I am hungry and tired. That’s why I don’t eat late. I never eat after 8pm. But I think, when you have to eat late at night eat really healthy, like apple, banana, carrot…some raw fruit or vegetable or even raw salad and you won’t gain weight, I can bet my life you won’t gain weight eating that!

  • http://www.goddesscarlie.com/tag/weight-loss/ GoddessCarlie

    I think it is to do with self control. Usually if you are eating late at night it is something bad. For myself personally I “come alive” at night, which means it’s when I eat the most, exercise the most, am more creative, get more work done. etc. However, I would have eaten my regular amount of calories throughout the day somehow because that is how you are supposed to eat. Now I listen to my body more and fuel it later in the day when I’m doing more. It’s working for me so far.

    I have also read that having food in your stomach as you go to sleep can disrupt sleep, which isn’t good, so I try not to eat anything before I go to bed.

  • Marina – Russia

    To me the “Not eating after 6p.m.” has always been a synonym of a “diet”, which in my opinion has nothing to do with the health at all.

    I have read that letting your body stay with no food for more than 12 hrs, works for it as an alert of the possible food shortage in the coming time, and thus makes the body deposit all of the following day’s food into the fat. I know, it might sound as another “scientific quote”, but think about it – why are we so eager to follow our eating every 2.5 hrs during the day to support the metabolism, and then all of a sudden we “turn the light off” at 6 p.m., as if the body stops working after that time. I am not saying about eating the 2nd dinner or something, but just a “clean” snack.

    To me the ideal time of the last snack is something like 1.5-2 hrs before going to bed. The eating right before sleeping won’t help to have the calm sleep for sure.

  • Shannon L.

    This is what I beleive.
    Yes a calorie in is a calorie out but you burn more calories during the day then when you are sleeping, therefore, you should not eat late at night right before you go to bed because the fat in the foods will just sit in your stomach and your body will take longer to process it.

    If your not using much energy, you don’t need to consume much energy. (It’s just a rule of thumb)

    People who excercise on a regular basis might not gain weight by having late night snacks as long as they are healthy snacks and their metabolism is probably higher than people who do not excercise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/albertov12 alberto vega

    I like to eat late night, because of my work, I don’t get to eat at the regular meal time, I have breakfast around 10am, then have lunch around 3pm, then I try to have a snack before dinner, 7pm for a snack, and then dinner around 9 when I get out of work

  • Niki

    Zuzana thanks so much for this article!!All my questions have find answers.I am trying to eat healthy and small portions during the day but until seven o clock.At night i prefer one cup of coffee or tea and then i go to bed.I have start this rule for a while and i feel better with my self.Also i leave in Cyprus which is an island near Italy if you hear anything about us:)We have the Mediterranean diet..But dont believe the most of us we did folllow it,and that is too bad beacause we have the best diet with a lot of ingridiens to eat and we don’t try to start a healthy live.Here they prefer ”easy food” like everywhere..

  • http://n/a Tanya

    I feel really lousy if I have to stay away from food for too long, that’s why strict dieting is not for me. I can’t stand the hunger. Some of my girlfriends woud stick to a funny ‘diet’ of not eating after 6 pm. In my opinion, that’s a real torture for the body. I need a bite in the morning soon after I wake up. I can’t go for long without a breakfast (unless I need to take some medical tests on an empty stomach – in this case I can go hungry for 3-4 hours, but again I would feel awful). Then I work out, have a small bite after the work out (as recommended, of course, not a bowl of ice-cream). And for the rest of the day I pick on the food every couple of hours. My metabolism is really fast, I guess. My hunny can go without food for the entire working day. For me it’s something impossible (unless theres a reason, like a food poisoning when I can’t eat at all).
    So, basically all the crap I wrote above is an argument for eating a couple of hours before going to bed. Sleeping and waking up on an empty stomach is definitely not my cup of tea.

  • http://red-star.nl John

    I eat 0%fat yogurt one hour before I go to bed. I do not have overweight. But, I think when I replace the yogurt for chips and so, I would gain weight.

  • Kim

    I used to always eat late at night..but i currently cut that out..i eat more during the day so i dont have cravings at night..but i also improved my eating..and have been doing your workouts consistently so i almost have my six pack! so who knows what really gave me my results, maybe a combination!

  • N. Grevelis

    I feel that it’s not when you eat, it’s what you eat & HOW MUCH OF IT! Personally, I feel if you are truly hungry your body is asking for nutrients because it needs them. If you’re not sure if you are or are not TRULY hungry I say skip it, sip on some water & go to bed. :)
    Quality of food is crucial, as well as serving sizes!

    To your health!
    NG

  • DeLavell

    Do you have more lean muscle reciepes? I tried the farmer girl meal that was great. Thank you.

  • DeLavell

    Thanks. For the information.

  • karena

    Our family eats dinner together at 6 pm, or close to it every night but the weekends. Kids are in bed by 9 and by 10 pm, we are hungry again so we fix a healthy snack…meaning 300 calories or less of something filling like yogurt and nuts, protein shake, or a bowl of bran cereal. Sometimes we eat as late as 11 pm…we are night owls and don’t get to bed until almost midnight. I don’t see it affect my weight. I think people tend to say to not eat at night because night time eating is usually quick pre-made and processed snacks like chips, ice cream or sandwiches. I am a firm believer that if you are eating right, regardless of when you eat it, your body will take it as needed fuel. If your not exceeding your calorie limits and exercising on a continual basis, then have an apple before bed…I can’t imagine that it will make you fat.

  • http://www.janetspreiter.com Janet

    I find I tend to struggle more with extra lbs if I eat right before bed. Not very scientific, but best for me when the last “meal” is a few hours before sleeping.

  • http://www.artarra.com Ariana

    I can’t eat dinner early – after coming home I do my exercises (and eating before is not a good idea) and then I have some time to prepare the food. Therefore I usually eat at 8.30 pm or even later.
    I guess it doesn’t matter when you eat if you do it regularly. If you eat dinner at 6pm and an additional snack at 11pm it’s not the time that matters – the extra calories will add the weight.

  • Catherine

    I don’t feel like eating near or after bedtime.

    And once I have cleaned my teeth for bed, I don’t like the idea of having to do this again because 8 or whatever hours is a long time to have gunk around your teeth!

    Food in bed never happens either (or any eating in the bedroom); I just don’t get it. Work it out people, either get up and have breakfast or lie down & sleep! Who wants to find fallen food bits in bed anyway?

  • Essi

    I have been raised in Finland and our family habits are that we eat dinner around 4-6 pm, and if someone is hungry he/she can eat like a yogurt in the evening, but not anything heavy. For eating so early means that we eat lunch around 12, so that makes us hungry at 4pm.

    But since New Year I have tried to change my diet so that I´ll eat small portions during the day, and then I still like to eat my final meal at least 6-7 pm. For me personally, I don´t like to go to bed with really full stomach, so that´s the perfect time me to eat. And really small portions makes my energy stay up for the whole day :D :D

  • Tahlee

    Personally, I prefer not to eat late at night. I eat a lot of small meals during the day and find after about 7pm I’m not really hungry anyway. I find if I do eat too late at night or a big meal in the evening, I feel sluggish and bloated and I don’t have a restful sleep.

    It’s just my preference though. I don’t think I could attribute weight loss to it…

  • V

    I actually used to be a very big fan of snacking late at night before bed. I stopped doing that about 2 months ago and let me tell you, it made a world of difference. I have that lower belly pooch problem area, and when I stopped eating late that pooch went down by a lot. I set a rule that about 8pm is when I stop eating for the day. I do make exceptions for weekends though when I go out a little later. I don’t drink, and its rare for me to have a glass of wine with a meal or anything, so It is pretty much just food that I am having. I actually like not eating late mostly because of the way I feel in the morning. I feel so much lighter, and I seem to sleep better as well.

  • Chris

    On the days that I don’t have school (tuesday and thursday), I will usually stay up until 5am cause that’s just how I roll. I will have something to eat around 12-1am and then again around 3-4am. I don’t notice any difference other than I’m not staying up late starving. I eat healthy, small portions of course as well. In fact, since I found your site and been doing your workouts, I’ve actually lost weight without changing my eating habits in any way.

  • http://bodyblog.tv Lish Weese

    I usually get a bit hungry at night while watching t.v. with my husband so I’ll have a grapefruit or some sort of fruit or green tea. Seems to help because I CANNOT sleep on an empty tummy… I like to drink a lot of water and not have anything salty or I’ll retain fluid and look awful in my morning mirror :)

  • Philippe

    I can’t imagine going to bed if I’m still hungry. So if I’m hungry, I eat something. Otherwise I can’t sleep right. And I eat well anyway.

    Also, animals tend to rest after hunting and eating a prey. Sleeping shouldn’t be problematic. Now, eating sugar or other bad foods and then going to bed is probably not very good for your sleep, so you’ll have less sleep and be more tired the next day.

  • diethelper

    I think that when it comes down to the nitty gritty it still depends on your food intake vs calories expended. However, cutting out late night snacking in the general population is probably a good thing. It does seem like the snacks and munchy foods that people grab late at night are not as nutritious as foods they may have during the day and the reason is in the definition–it is munching and therefore it isn’t planned out or considered for in daily consumption.

    One idea is to drink a glass of water, wait fifteen minutes and then decide whether or not you’re still hungry; what we perceive as hunger is often thirst and this may solve your problem. Another would be to brush your teeth shortly after eating supper so that you’re more likely to refrain from anything besides water. Not eating at night will also make you hungrier by morning and will encourage a hearty breakfast–the meal deemed most important but the one most often skipped.

    One reason behind the “science” that eating late may be missing out on the thermal effects of food. After eating a meal your metabolic rate rises slightly but the reverse happens when you sleep so you may be cheating yourself out of burning a few extra calories by hitting the sack right after the late night snack. However, the amount of calories burned from the slight increase in metabolic rate would not be higher than the calories obtained from the food (unless that snack was something like plain lettuce or celery and that’s probably not the case)so unless you are truly hungry, skip it!

    Hope this helps!

  • Iñaki

    Hey! I’m from Spain, guys, and thanks for the food compliment ;) Being the inheritor of a line of cookers, I have quite an experience with eating habits, disorders, and tons of recipes (by the way, you got some interesting recipes :) ).

    And mind you, none of my family is overweight, thanks for an innate obsession to stay healthy, and to mind about what we eat: we care a lot about what we buy for our meals.
    Personally, I have traveled to other countries, and I find easier to eat “late”, as you call it (in our culture, 9 or 10PM is even “soon” for most things), than the alternative; it’s almost mandatory if you try to do five or six meals a day, with respective meal rests.

    When I visited a friend in Holland for a few days, I had to change my habits (and it was quite hard for me) these days, but I didn’t notice any significant difference in my weight, or when I worked out (I did notice, however, that the streets got mostly empty after 11 PM, to my dismay :P ).

    Personally, I think that the most important factor isn’t when we eat, but what we eat, and how much rest we get. Of course, I can be perfectly misguided ;)

  • Santiea

    The rule of thumb that has been drilled into my head lately is sticking to an appropriate daily calorie range . . . . and not allowing my body to go too long in between “refueling” during wake hours. Sometimes, I am getting in my last 150 calories at 11:00 p.m. I stick to my appropriate daily calorie range and challenging daily workouts and I am losing weight, which is one of my goals.

  • Lorrie

    Yes, the Spain concept is very interesting and, if you think about it, in the past 23 years you have seen an increase in the consumption of processed foods. I believe GMO’s mess up people’s metabolism also. I look at food this way, the less man puts his hands on my food, the healthier it is for me. I buy food and eat according to that golden rule. God put food on this earth that will keep me healthy. When man intervenes, you are looking at trouble.

    It also depends, just as you talked about in one of your other vids, on what your activity is after you eat.

    Now I am going to go overdose on some black olives…hehhe

  • Megan

    I’ve read that you can burn more calories while sleeping than while watching tv (not sure how valid this is). Nonetheless, if someone is going to be worried about having a snack late at night due to sleeping…shouldn’t they be just as concerned about snacking in the middle of the afternoon and vegging out on the couch to watch tv?

  • Megan K

    Hi,

    I usually eat baby carrots before night if I have eaten my meals and feel hungry. No matter how many of them I still seem to lose weight! =) But I agree with most people’s response when they say “Everybody is different!” My mother eats chocolate everyday and remains the same healthy weight, whereas if I ever try to do that, my weight skyrockets! =P

    –Megan K

  • SandyPhilly

    The idea behind this whole thing is that your body is doing everything slower when you are less active sitting in front of the TV vs running around, excercising, etc…Everbody agrees on that right?…So it only makes sense that your body is dong even less when you’re sleeping vs sitting in front of the TV doing nothing vs walking around doing daily activities…The body does rest when sleeping regardless of what your metabolic rate is…But additionally, everything is everything, late night eating is an issue for reflux, indigestion, pain from this, ulcers from this, which can lead to tons of other issues…it can go on and on…

  • Sandra

    I like to snack at night but I’m pretty good about what I snack on. I’ll make hot-air popcorn, a piece of fruit w/ some raw almonds or a little Greek yogurt w/ blueberries.I keep the portions small and usually it’s enough to satisfy my snacking urge. I find I tend to sleep better when I have a small snack too.

  • Nilds

    Just as they say that eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism, does eating late slow it down? I have heard this ‘myth’. Do you have anything that speaks to address that?

  • Nilds

    I almost always eat late at night but it’s not my “dinner” meal. It is usually about 1 hour or 1.5 hours before I go to sleep. I find that if I don’t eat before bed I wake up at night because I’m hungry. I also found that if I eat and go straight to bed (no time in between) I am very hungry when I wake up. I haven’t noticed how this may affect my weight but if my body tells me I’m hungry, I usually listen.

  • Lynn

    I follow a very strict clean eating diet that consists mainly of veggies, fruit, lean protein (lots of egg whites!) and beans. I can eat any time of the day or night and not have an issue. The only time I see an issue is when my portions get too big. I even find that from time-to-time, I will actually wake up in the middle of the night because I’m hungry, so I’ll go down to the kitchen and drink 8 oz. of egg whites or have a spoonful of almond butter and then I’m good to go. I view that as the sign of a very healthy metabolism that is constantly working, day or night.

  • Suzanne

    I work very different hours on different days, including some shifts that finish at 1am. for myself I feel better in health when allowing myself to eat after work before bed on these days, as I seldom sleep in it seems like I’m more tired without that last late snack.
    like everything, I believe we all need to listen to and learn from our own bodies.
    Thanks Zuzana & Frederick.

  • Natalia

    Hi Zuzana and Frederick. I work at Toys’R'Us and my schedule varies quite a lot. Sometimes I start as early as 4 in the morning or end as late as 11 in the evening. I adjust my meals according to that schedule. I have to… even though I wish I could have a set schedule for my meals. If I get hungry late at night, I have something very light and healthy and always wait about an hour before going to sleep. Doing so, I have better night sleep. I know it confuses my body to have such random meal times. Do you guys have any suggestions for that?

  • Michael

    Hello there-I’ve heard both ideas talked about, supported and de-bunked a million times. I think you are right when you say whats being eaten and how much is more the cause of weight gain or loss than when it’s eaten. I mean, think about plain celery…if you ate that as a late nite snack you could eat 10 stalks (plain)and I don’t think you would gain any weight…even if you did it for 6 months straight everynight at 2a.m. If however you eat half a bag of doritos and wash it down with a pint of hagen-daz….well you see my point. There are some fitness athletes who actually set an alarm in the middle of the night so they can wake up and eat…this is to make sure they are eating every 3 hours around the clock…they have very low body fat so…in the end it’s what not when I think

  • http://adamdouglasphotography.com Tiffany Stephens

    My husband is an extreme late night eater and it’s hard to prove this theory on him because he stays overweight at a consistent 240 lbs regardless of how often he eats late night or otherwise. Often times he eats two meals a night and he’s very seditary throughout the day. Once I’ve had dinner I’m pretty much done and I work out with Zuzana at least 4-5 times a week around noon, and some tredmill after dinner, and if I don’t that weight comes on like nobodies business. That said, I’m still overweight. I’m a very health concious eater, I make up for my chip runs but I couldn’t immagine me eating after hours, it wouldn’t be nice.

  • bohdana

    I try not to eat too late, but….
    One thing what always happens to me when I eat really late (and more than my usual healthy portion) is, I wake up starving and want to eat more than I usually would.
    That is my 5 cents.
    B

  • Maryam

    As someone else mentioned, I think it’s all different from person to person…I think there are too many variables in this situation to give a straight out true or false answer.

    For me personally, I have just realized (from just observing my own patterns and things) that when I decide that I will be eating healthy, I can generally do it all day and mess it all up at night. So, now my goal is to stop eating after 8, just so I can avoid my bad habits at night.

  • maryh

    i dont’ know if this happens to anybody else but if i decide NOT to eat after 6pm for e.g. and go to bed hungry..i’m not so hungry in the morning or as much during the next day.
    BUT if i did eat whatever i wanted the night before..i’d wake up more ravenous…and extra super hungry during the next day. But sometimes its hard to sleep if too hungry.
    So..i dont’ know…my body is some kinda finely tuned instrument at times.
    i lost alot of weight before by restricting night-time/evening eating..and the reason i think is this is the time i naturally ‘want’ to eat. i can easily by-pass lunch for example…or want to eat alot less during the day as i’m busy and sometimes food seems to be inconvenient and slow me down.
    Eating Carboydrates in the evening is the most natural thing for me to want to do..it aids with sleep. Alot of the current weight loss advice totally turns that upside down and advise zero carbs after a certain time. I think just do what suits youself individually. if what your doing feels un-natural then..its unlikely to change any long term habits or have any good impact on your overall health.
    This is a great topic.

  • Claudia Roman

    I think it truly depends on the person. Whether the person has fast metabolism or slow metabolism, whether the person craves sweets or salty foods, whether the person burns more calories… I truly believe it is circumstantial. In my case, I cannot go to bed without something in my stomach. I will wake up in the middle of the night and grab something to eat and lose sleep. I usually do eat something before I go to bed and I have not experienced any weight gain (or loss for that matter).

  • SarahR

    I find that if the last meal I ate was 4+ hours before I go to bed, then my stomach is growling for food while i’m try to sleep. I like to eat a very small snack soon before bed. Something like fruit or slice of bread.

  • Sehee

    I’m totally impressed by this article. I’ve been always thinking, also confused, how naturally thin people eat pizzas, chicken, cakes late at night, and stay thin forever. I’ve been on a diet for 2 years, and still having hard time my eating habits. I extremely try to eat before 6pm,work out 3 hours a day, and still looks fat. But my brother who doesn’t even work out regularly, eat late at night, stays thin for his whole life. I’m starting to think that too much information about weight loss does not help us, rather, it makes people work out too much for a while, and then overeat next 3days…(I gained 40 pounds that way…). Anyway thank you for this article. It helps me a lot!!

  • Dakota

    Hi Zuzana, Frederick, and Everyone!

    I would like to ask you (all who are reading this) what I should do about my craving for chocolate every day. I have been eating about 200 calories worth of chocolate everyday (sometimes only about 80 calories, but today I ate 200 calories!).

    Before I changed my habits around and started eating healthy and exercising regularly, I didn’t crave chocolate. Now I do (and feel guilty every time I do it)! I don’t go over my daily calories, but this has been worrying me since I’ve been doing every day. Did anyone else out there have this “problem”? What do I do?

    • Maryam

      Hi Dakota,

      here are some tips that help me with chocolate cravings, or at least help me eat a minimum amount of it. if u eat milk chocolate, try getting dark chocolate instead…u tend to eat less of it. also, eat it slllllllloooooowwwwwllllllyyyyyy. lol. idk, i find it easier to stop sooner. another thing u can do it, put a tiny bit of “shredded” chocolate in ur milk for cereal or in yogurt, a little bit goes long way and u still feel like that whole meal was chocolaty!

      one more thing, just use some will power when u r buying them…if u dont buy them u wont have any around to eat.

    • Antonia

      HI

      Continue to try to bring in whole food to your diet. If you buy bananas/raisans and say walnuts for a salad also buy a very dark dark bark of chocolate even 90%.

      When you crave the chocolate get out a small bowl and put a small amount of walnuts raisans and maybe banana sliced then add some pieces of the very dark chocolate. Eat that as a snack all together. The method of this madness is you will taste good chocolate but become use to craving other healthier snacks that are tasty and chocolate may lose its award winning place in your life.

      I hope this one helps maybe!

  • Lindsey

    I’ve always thought that your metabolism is slower in the middle of the night, for instance if you wake up to go to the bathroom and you find yourself a little hungry, your body hasn’t been moving around as much and therefore isn’t your metabolism going to be slower than it would be earlier in the day when you are more active and eating in more regular increments? That’s what I think kind of. And if you want your body to fall asleep, eating excites it a little and makes your body work to digest the food, so it might be a little harder to fall asleep after you’ve eaten certain things because your body has to all the sudden wake up certain parts to work to digest the food. So I would be surprised if eating at night had absolutely no effect!

    • Lindsey

      Oh, and I’m from the United States and at least my family tends to stay up later and end up eating dinner later. I stay up until 12 most nights and I usually end up eating my last food for the day around 7pm for this reason that I’m not sure if eating later would have an effect on my weight or not.

  • Oli

    Oh… my favourite eating at night, I don’t think it’s such a huge problem, as it was said, but the amount of the food, that’s what matters. I just had problems to stop eating at night. You know… all the day you are on a diet and just try to taste something tasty at night, you feel like you have to taste more and more, cause it’s so delicious. It’s really funny, I am laughing to myself. My previous experience was this: When I didn’t eat after eight a clock, than it was good, I was loosing weight… but just any meal or snack after that and I couldn’t stop, because of no discipline. Thanks for this article and all the job, you are doing here, just thanks that, I didn’t give up it again. You are such a great inspiration for many peoples, I think, I cannot express it in words exactly, how much.

  • Patty

    I personally think our bodies are like a highway, if there are more cars-there is more traffic-and the speed of the cars reduce, which in your body when you eat your body begins to work and causes you to get tired. So basically people who get cravings at night are basically not tired and need something to make them go to bed like food. But the greatest advice is to wake up hungry, rather than go to bed full.

  • Andie

    I have been eating late at night as far back as I can remember (I’m in America). It’s such a habit with me that I can’t even fall asleep if I feel hungry at all. I’m pretty skinny/average. Certainly not overweight. The only weight change I’ve ever really encountered was after I quit gymnastics a long while ago. Late night eating has never had any notable negative impact.
    I think it’s either unrelated, or completely independent of the person doing it. I think my body is incredibly use to my eating habits.

    • Andie

      Correction, according to my BMI I’m borderline overweight.. but no one ever believes me anyway when I say that.

  • Lisa

    This is ALL biochemistry! Your body releases a weight loss hormone at night called human growth hormone. You release most of it when your sleeping. This is why when your not sleeping people gain weight and release a hormone called cortisol which is stress and another hormone called ghrelin that increases appetite. The only thing that interferes with human growth hormone is insulin, so this is why protein would be the best choice to eat before going to bed.

  • jennie

    I eat small meals 6-8 times a day. Sometimes I am up late – until 2 am or later, and I plan my meals accordingly.. I make sure I have a meal every 2-3 hours that im awake.. just because 10 pm is “late” doesn’t mean I will forego eating and stay hungry for 6 hours until sleeping at 3 am.. I lost 35 pounds doing it this way with no regard as to what TIME it was (besides eating every 2-3 hours)!

  • Sandy

    I just about always have dinner close to 9 pm simply because of my work schedule. If I choose not to eat late then I would have to forgo dinner and thats not going to happen. I’ve never had any issues with gaining because of the time I had my meals. In the past when I have gained a few pounds, I was inactive and eating junk.

  • Heather

    If I haven’t eaten enough during the day and eat something late at night my weight doesn’t go up in the morning… I do tend to get more cravings for bad food late at night and I also want to overeat later in the day. I wish I could get over that!
    My husband is a firm believer in not eating anything late at night unless it is protein.
    I think it is just something that whatever works for you is the truth. Try and eat something late and night and see if you get chunky! If you do, I would avoid it!

  • Anna

    i love eating after 7 pm! at that time my “bad” side wakes up and starts devouring all sweet and yummy stuff, i noticed that sweet and junky stuff makes me feel awful before bad although it is really tasty but as long as u work out regularly it doesnt matter much to me
    i try to have healthy snacks before bed, something like wholegrain bread with cottage cheese … and anyway, eating right can become so boring, we live once so i think its ok to be naughty sometimes =)

  • Brianna

    My belief is that with any of these crazy health theories, the trick is just finding what works for you.

    My eating habits are pretty good, and based on my experience there is no difference in my weight or how i feel when I eat late at night. I wouldn’t recommend doing it every night, but if you’re hungry, what are you going to do?

  • Danielle

    Actually both of my parents are late night eaters and have very different results from it. My father is morbidly obese and my mother is skinny as a rail….they both have the same lifestyle…aside from different jobs…they both smoke and drink. I think all that it comes down to is your own personal self….and learning about your body.

    I heard once that if you ate you should wait at least an hour and a half before going to bed because your body burns less calories while sleeping…and ive been going by that rule for a while now. And usually is I do feel the need to eat something…..I’ll have an apple or some grapes.

  • Audra Gatti

    I don’t count calories but, I eat small portions of clean, healthy, nutrient dense foods with only water and have lost almost 20lbs of fat in 3 months. I eat dinner at 5pm and have my last meal/snack between 7 & 8pm. I will not have anything more, except drink water. It also helps that no matter what, I’m in bed by 9pm so that I don’t get hungry again. If I ever had to stay up late for any reason and had to choose between “cellulite ice cream” or “fat-burning water-packed tuna & half an apple”. You guessed it. The tuna & apple. Because I’m never going back to the chunky, flabby self I used to be. Never.

    • Megan K

      Wow! This is so inspiring!
      I have only recently started cutting fat out of my diet, reading your comment just keeps my motivation up! Thank you! =) And of course, keep up the good work!!

      –Megan K

  • Carolyne

    I usually have a yogurt with some almonds an hour before going to bed, and I haven’t been gaining weight. Although, if I had my daily calories for the day and then have chocolate with a chocolate milk, over time, yes I will gain weight.

  • mag

    hi zuzana and frederick !
    i have a question :) , on your older videos you show what you ate at breakfast, like oats, soy milk, nuts. And now do you still eat that things, or just coffe or you eat others thinks¿¿

  • Lisa

    sorry never mind! :)