Breakfast, lunch and dinner do the body good. But what about a late dinner, midnight snack and middle-of-the night munching?
Research consistently shows that people who eat late at night weigh more than those who eat all of their food earlier in the day. For example, people who eat most of their food at night have higher body mass indexes than people who eat earlier in the day, according to a 2007 study published in the International Journal of Obesity. And in one study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants who ate between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. gained more weight than those who kept their mouth shut during those hours.
But what is it about nighttime that makes the fat pack on?
Nothing Good Happens After 10 p.m.
“Over the years, I have reviewed research that says that only the total caloric intake ingested over the day matters,” says board-certified bariatric physician Dr. Caroline Cederquist, author of “The MD Factor Diet.” “I think this is the real crux of the issue. At midnight, people will rarely make chicken and salad. They will eat ice cream or chips, the high-fat or high-sugar foods that our bodies store so effectively as fat.”
In fact, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, nighttime eaters ate 12 percent more calories than those who ate only throughout the day. And in the International Journal of Obesity study, nighttime eaters participated in more binge-eating behaviors than those who didn’t eat after dinner.