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030513 Does eating at night make you fat?

030513 Does eating at night make you fat?

For quite some time now, dieters have been told to avoid eating after six o’clock at night. For example, individuals who follow Atkins, South Beach and Weight Watchers weight reduction plans have been advised to limit their food intake at night. This is not a new belief.

Generation after generation has been led to believe that when they eat their food just before a period of inactivity i.e. before going to bed, that these calories are going be stored as fat rather than burned up as energy. This appears to be unsubstantiated by hard research (1).

Researchers tracked the eating habits and body weights of 70,400 US men and women for ten years. They found that the percentage of the daily calories, eaten after 5:00 PM, caused no changes in their weight.

Obesity expert, Albert Stunkard, of the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine, Philadelphia, stated, “I know of no credible evidence that the time of day has any impact on the storage of fat.”

This is not mean to imply that you can sit down and eat anything you want to eat just before you go to bed. Those extra calories that you eat when you are tired, bored or stressed from the grind of the daily activity will accumulate as a fat roll in your body. Normally the times this happens is at nighttime and you can expect those extra calories to show up on your waistline.

Engaging in twenty to thirty minutes of physical activity each day will not only make you more physically fit but will also help you control your weight by helping to use up those excess calories that you eat.

As a result of the studies, the answer to the question of is eating later at night less healthy than during the daytime would be no.

(1) Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab.Disord.21: 407,1997

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