I think there is a lot of confusion about this whole eating at night debate. When people like Oprah start to advocate not eating after 8pm, the world seems to think that eating anything after 8pm will make you fat. I’ll tell you, if I want a glass of orange juice or a handful of nuts or, damnit, even some frozen yogurt at 10pm, I will eat it. A small healthy snack won’t ruin you. Or will it?
Heading to Taco Bell for their dreaded 4th meal is obviously a terrible idea. Lots of fast food chains and crappy casual dining establishments have extended their hours late into the night making high fat, low nutrient food readily available to the drunk and high masses. Care to know what eating that food at those times does to you?
Let’s have a look at a recent study from Northwestern University (found in an article on WebMD) that examines time of eating and its contribution to weight gain. In the study, two groups of mice were fed the same high fat diet but one received it at night (normal feeding time for nocturnal mice) and the other received it during the day (the wrong feeding time for nocturnal mice).
What the researchers found was a 48% weight increase in the mice eating at the wrong time (daytime for them). The mice eating at night like they are supposed to only had an increase of 20% despite consuming the same food.
The “wrong” time for humans to eat would be at night when our bodies should be at rest. And while the researchers say their isn’t enough evidence to prove the study’s results would be the same for humans, I’m going to go ahead and say that they’re on to something pretty solid.
I still like to think that eating my healthy food at night is still ok especially since it’s not a habit. But since at least some evidence points toward a nighttime eating/weight gain correlation, I’ll have to keep it in check. Everything in moderation, right mom?