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So does eating late at night make you gain more weight than eating it earlier in the day? The answer is simple – no.
It has been suggested that going to sleep on a full stomach meant that your body didn’t digest food properly causing more fat to stay in your body than if you’d eaten it earlier in the day The truth is that your body’s digestive system works the same no matter what time of day you eat.
Research conducted by scientists at Oregon Health and Science University, and backed by the British Dietetic Association, dismissed the ‘commonly held belief’ that eating late at night caused weight gain, saying that it was ‘an urban myth’.
What matters is the total amount of calories you eat throughout the day and the amount of exercise you do. This will affect how much weight you gain; regardless of when in the day you eat.
The average daily calorie intake recommended by the UK Department of Health is 1940 calories for women and 2550 for men. This varies based on factors including age, height, weight and your level of daily activity. Adults are recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes five days per week in order to remain healthy and avoid weight gain.
There seems to be no relation between when you take your calories and weight gain. Your body doesn’t recognize a calorie eaten at midnight any differently from a calorie eaten at midday. Good news for midnight snackers?
Well……no! Research has found that people who eat late at night are actually more likely to have a higher calorie intake than people who eat at normal eating times. It’s not the midnight snack that causes the weight gain; it’s all the other sugary snacks that they eat throughout the day.
1. BBC News. "Eating at night myth 'exploded'"13 November 2003. Accessed March 12, 2012, Website:
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