Don’t eat dinner OR snacks after 8pm or you will gain weight! Sound familiar?
You’ve probably come across someone at some point that was trying to lose weight tell you that they stopped eating after dinner time of and they suddenly lost weight 10 pounds after implementing this for a couple of months.
Well they didn’t DIRECTLY lose weight from not eating after 8pm, they were probably the type of person that over consumed on snacks, high calorie dinners, or binge drank alcohol late at night.
So, if you cut these factors out of course you are going to lose weight! So many people believe that eating after 8pm will automatically cause your body to store those calories as fat, no matter what the food source is, and that is not the case!
So will eating a late dinner or a midnight snack directly make you gain weight?
NO it will not.
However, OVER consuming calories late at night and throughout the day will lead to weight gain, which is a majority of where the problem lies.
Energy balance leads to weight gain or weight loss
Weight gain is caused by consuming more calories than you are expending, A.K.A being in a caloric surplus. Weight loss occurs as long as I am burning more calories than I am intaking, which will put me in a caloric deficit.
For example, meet Susie!
Susie is trying to lose weight and her current caloric intake is 1,700 calories/day. She has steadily been losing weight at this intake so we know she is in a caloric deficit. Each example shows different caloric amounts per meal throughout the day but the overall intake is still the same between situations
No Intake after 8pm Most calories consumed after 8pm
Caloric Deficit STILL a Caloric Deficit
Breakfast: 400cal Breakfast:250 cal
Snack:200 cal Snack: 200 cal
Lunch: 500 cal Lunch: 400cal
Snack: 200 cal Dinner: 400cal
Dinner: 400 cal Late Night snack: 550cal
=1,700 calories = 1,700 calories
Each of these examples still puts Susie in a caloric deficit. The example on the right doesn’t make her incapable of losing weight just because she consumed most of her calories at night! As long as she expended more than 1,700 calories throughout the day between:
1. Exercise/ NEAT
2. Resting Metabolic Rate
3. Thermal Effect of Food
……..she is still going to lose weight!
Why people tend to associate late night eating with weight gain is because they over consume on snacks and alcohol or binge eat late at night. Someone can end up consuming 500-1,000+ calories in one sitting and obviously this leads to……..you guessed it WEIGHT GAIN!
So, it’s just a matter of preference and being conscious of the amount of calories you consume throughout the day! Using a caloric counting app like MyFitnessPal is a great place to start if you are curious about your caloric intake!
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