Bedtime snacks are a controversial topic. Here’s what experts have to say on the matter.
Opinions on bedtime snacks are varied, with some claiming that it leads to weight gain and others stating the opposite. Like most things health related, it all depends on the individual and their personal habits.
Late night eating (aka that innocent snack you eat after dinner and before bed) has usually been associated with weight gain. Critics of this habit claim that before sleep, people’s metabolism slows down, with the last calories they consume being assimilated and transformed into fat. There’s also evidence that eating right before bed could make you feel sick, especially if the meal is heavy and makes your digestive system work hard.
In truth, the most important factor in determining weight gain is your habits. While eating before bed shouldn’t cause weight gain in theory, it’s a habit that encourages other bad habits. These snacks usually don’t count as a meal, meaning that they’re extra calories. They’re also occurring at the time of the day when people are the hungriest, meaning that your snacking can quickly transform into eating enough calories that throw off your daily caloric intake.
While it’s not the norm to eat right before sleeping, some people have less time on their hands, limiting their options. Gastroenterologist David Poppers told Men’s Health that these meals should be kept within the 600 calorie range, and that they should be consumed without distractions, ensuring that the food is chewed properly and that people won’t consume too much air per bite.
Some research says that for people who get very hungry at night, one snack after dinner could help them control their urges for eating more. It seems like what matters most in all of these scenarios is what you eat instead of the time when you eat it. No matter from what angle you look at it, eating a slice of pizza right before sleeping is not going to help you lose weight or feel any better in the morning. But an evening snack in the form of an apple or a bowl of cereal might.