What do recent studies show?
Dining at a certain time and later in the evening has been blamed several times for the extra pounds that weigh on many people. But to what extent is this charge based? What does the latest research from nutrition experts say?
As we read about iatropedia, more and more people are recently wondering how late it is to eat their evening meal due to a recent study that looked at what happened to the bodies of volunteer participants when they were forced to eat the same three. main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). early or late in the day.
The researchers say they found that those who ate slowly were hungrier, burned fewer calories and that their fat cells expressed genes linked to increased fat.
It is important to note that this study did not look at whether participants actually gained or lost weight at the end. You read that right: despite headlines saying that eating slowly is “bad for weight loss”, “increases the risk of obesity” or “something to avoid”, the study itself did not track any changes in body weight. participants.
In Fact, The Authors Specifically Mentioned in Their Report:
Note that the present study is intended to test the acute (i.e., short-term) effects of delayed feeding on energy balance regulation, not whether long-term adherence to such a program will lead to weight gain over time or whether body goes. Allergic adaptation.
In other words, it’s entirely possible for your body to adapt to your new eating plan if that’s how you actually live your life. Study participants ate on schedule for only six days at a time.
What Does Other Research Say About Late Dinner?
There is already older research that suggests that a late dinner can facilitate weight gain. But something as simple as changing your meal times isn’t enough to change your body size.
For example, there are studies in mice that show that when mice are forced to eat during the day (when they are normally sleeping), they gain weight faster than mice fed at night. This research is clearly not applicable to humans, for several reasons.
First, mice are usually very young and growing, which may not be representative of what happens in adulthood.
Second, they are mice, not humans. Small details but noteworthy!
Many relevant research findings do not agree with the idea that late meals make you gain weight. For example, there are several studies that have found that timing doesn’t make much of a difference when calories are equal. Which is logical in general.
What You Eat Is More Important Than When You Eat
The idea that a late dinner can affect weight gain has been around for a long time and has degenerated into a bunch of myths that have nothing to do with science. For example, it’s a myth that your body doesn’t “burn” the calories you eat late at night. Your body burns calories all the time, even while you sleep.
The science behind late dinners has shown that people who eat late tend to consume more calories than those who eat early and are more likely to eat processed, high-calorie foods. The new study mentioned above found that people were hungrier if they were in the group that ate their meals late, which agrees with the whole theory.
But then again, there are likely other things going on:
If you’re eating late, it’s probably because you got up late, maybe because you’re already working late. In these cases, you may not have the time, energy or resources to cook a healthy meal on your own. You’re going to grab a quick bite or order takeout. It’s also possible that working at night is one of the factors that disrupts your circadian rhythm. So late dinner can be a consequence, not a cause. Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain.
Looking at the most recent study, people who ate late had about a 5% reduction in the number of calories their bodies burned, although this was average and not true for everyone. 5% is about 115 calories if you eat 2,300 calories a day (a good average for most adults).
This is equivalent to a banana or 30 grams of cheese. Even if this effect persists beyond the study’s time limits (six days), you can combat it by eating the equivalent of a banana a day.
So What’s Late For Dinner?
What if you want to try eating your meals earlier in the day? After all, it might be worth a try, even if it seems unlikely to be… a panacea for weight loss.
In the study we discussed at the beginning of this article, the late meal was eaten two and a half hours before bed (so at 8:30 pm if you go to bed at 11:00 pm). People who wanted to have an early dinner had to do so about 4 hours before, i.e. 4:30 pm.
Meanwhile, there is a form of intermittent fasting that has been suggested to be better for regulating the body’s circadian rhythm. While there isn’t a lot of research behind this, it’s worth noting that it usually catches up quickly between 8pm and 6am.
Tips For Avoiding A Late Night Meal Generally Fall Into These Time Frames:
For example, some experts recommend eating your last big meal at least three hours before bed, or around 8 pm at the latest if you go to bed at 11 pm. In the meantime, if you want to avoid any irritating heartburn, doctors generally advise finishing your last meal at least three hours before bed, some say four hours.
With all these factors in mind (and always assume someone goes to bed at 11pm), it’s safe to finish your evening meal at 8pm so your stomach is almost empty by bedtime. However, if you need to eat later, be very careful with your choices and eat the same meal you would at a regular dinner party, even if it means preparing a healthy meal earlier in the day so you aren’t tempted to order late at night.