The reason eating late is supposed to make you fat is related to insulin secretion. In fact, every time we ingest something, the blood sugar level rises and insulin is released, which can promote the formation of fat deposits during sleep. So far, however, this hypothesis has not been scientifically proven.
However, you may have noticed that you sleep worse on a full stomach. This is because the digestive process hinders rest. Each of us is different and you have to find out for yourself when is the best time to have dinner. To be safe, eat something about two hours before bed, this will give your stomach enough time to digest dinner and make it easier for you to rest. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, try to eat earlier and give more time to your digestive system before you go to bed.
Is eating at night making you gain weight?
The number of calories contained in carbohydrates, fats and proteins always remains the same, this means that the moment of intake does not change the caloric intake of an ice cream, for example. Weight gain is always linked to the caloric surplus. This means that if you consume more calories than you consume each day, your body weight increases. The same goes for the reverse: if you ingest fewer calories than you consume, your body weight decreases.
Of course it is true that a late dinner can lead you to exceed the maximum daily calorie limit, this is because maybe you have already had an unexpected snack at the time you usually dine. To avoid this, try to take note of what you eat throughout the day.
Do you come home after work and are a little hungry, but is it still too early to have dinner? Without even realizing it you start munching on something. In this case, you should postpone dinner for a few hours. Even in the evenings on the sofa we like to nibble and it is these snacks in front of the TV that quickly cause an excess of calories.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, what scares people the most is the glucose level in the evening which is linked to weight gain.
So let’s see in reality what’s happening when we eat our dinner at night.
- Sugars easily make you sleepy and increase, after a first period, the activity of the parasympathetic system, so if you want to keep yourself awake and active it is better to limit them during working hours;
- an evening intake of carbohydrates is correlated with a better secretion of leptin during the day, a hormone that is decisive for weight loss;
- release serotonin: a precursor of melatonin essential for good sleep. In reality, carbohydrates do not produce serotonin but by stimulating insulin they increase the cellular intake of amino acids. Tryptophan (precursor of serotonin) is not affected by this mechanism, so the blood levels of this amino acid are elevated and more easily pass the blood-brain barrier (not finding other antagonistic amino acids), where it will be converted into serotonin. This event also decreases appetite (in the short term) leading to a better sense of satiety, a factor that should not be underestimated.
You do not gain weight or lose weight more depending on the distribution of meals throughout the day: before the “when” there is always the “how much”, that acts as a body composition regulator, for any nutrient.
In conclusion, when you decide to eat at night, there are no contraindications in terms of gaining weight, you just need to respect your daily calories intake.