Jillian Michaels

October 25, 2015

MYTH: Never Eat Before Bed

Busy schedules can throw your meal times completely out of whack. Can a late-night dinner ruin a day's worth of healthy eating? It's time to find out.

The Truth: It doesn’t matter what time you eat — the only thing that matters is the amount of calories you’re consuming and the quality of those calories. 

Calories don’t tell time. This myth stems from the long-rumored belief that if you eat before bed then go to sleep you won’t be active enough to burn off those calories. But that simply isn’t true. What matters are the total amount of calories you eat period. Time is irrelevant. You don’t gain more fat from the calories you consume if you eat them at 9 p.m. versus 7 p.m. If you consume the same amount of calories whether you eat them earlier or later, your body will digest those calories the exact same way.

The reason people do suggest an eating schedule is to prevent overeating. For example, if you skip meals you will become overly hungry which can lead to overeating when you finally do eat. And, if you eat throughout the day, it can cause you to lose track of your calories, which can also make you over eat.  

The only legitimate reason late night eating has been associated with weight gain is because often times the late night snacking is exactly that… snacking.  As in, additional calories. So, in this instance, you would have already eaten your breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner and the late night eating is ADDITIONAL calories. The only other truth about late night eating to be mindful of is that you don’t want to eat a bunch of sugar or starch right before you go to sleep. This is because your body produces most of your Human Growth Hormone production in your first sleep cycle. HGH is known as the anti aging, immunity, fat burning, muscle building hormone. For this reason we want to naturally maximize our bodies production of this hormone and insulin that gets released from high blood sugar can inhibit levels of HGH. So when eating late at night, avoid the brownies and fries. 

The Bottom Line: As long as you don’t overeat you won’t gain weight no matter when you consume your calories. And if you are looking to maximize your edge and optimize HGH production don’t eat simple carbs and sugar right before bed. 

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