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New Column: Ask the Nutritionist: Is it True That Eating Before Bedtime Causes You to Gain a lot of Weight?

DSC_3919-EditSubmit a question and you can win a free dinner for two at the Reserve Steakhouse ‘lite’ menu ($120 value). The Reserve Sushi and Steakhouse is proud to introduce a new and exciting menu which provides not only delectable ways to please your palate but is actually healthy and conscious of those looking to stay away from saturated fat, cholesterol, ‘carbs’, and other poor health choices when eating out. To submit a question to be featured in the “Ask the Nutritionist” column, email Yossi at yossimuller at gmail.com. Be sure to include your full name. If your question is published you will be awarded a free dinner for 2 from The Reserve Steakhouse’s brand new ‘Lite’ menu.

Question

Is it true that eating before bedtime causes you to gain a lot of weight?

Answer

No. Eating the wrong foods causes you to gain weight anytime you eat it!

If you eat a bowl of fried ice cream topped with fudge, peanut butter and whipped cream, you will have the same difficulty losing weight whether you eat it at 11:00 am or pm. On the other hand, an apple is great any time you eat it. As long as you’re hungry and the food is healthy you’ll be okay. The problem is that snacking before bedtime often leads to more snacking before bedtime and before you know it you just ate a lot of unnecessary food.

The reason why people think that not eating late at night helps you lose weight is because people who don’t eat at night tend to lose more weight. But this is NOT because they didn’t eat at night, it’s simply because they didn’t eat. If you starve yourself the entire day, you’ll also lose weight (although chances are you’re gonna gain it all back). The difference is that people find it easier to skip that bedtime “meal” because they will be going to sleep in a few minutes and will not have to spend the next few hours fighting their urge to eat. On the other hand, skipping lunch will have you starving all afternoon and will probably result in a big evening binge. So nutritionists may advise you not to eat before you go sleep, but that’s only a trick to get you to eat less! If we could come up with a way to get you to skip desert at your sister’s wedding (apple strudel topped with ice cream) we would do that too.

Contrary to popular belief, food that you eat right before bed is not directly stored as fat. That is a myth. What matters is the total calories consumed on any given day, not the timing of those calories. So as long as someone stays within their recommended daily allowance of calories- weight gain or storage of fat will not occur.

There are, however, other effects of eating before you go to sleep that may be of concern. Foods that the body finds hard to digest can cause you to have a less restful sleep. Think about it; how can your body relax when it’s trying to break down the hot dog, french fries, and diet coke you just ate? Although you may sleep all night, you will not wake up well rested.

It is true that your body’s metabolism does slow down a bit at night so that you can get some well-deserved rest. But again, as long as you’re eating the right foods this will have no effect on your net weight loss. Your body throughout a 24 hour cycle burns about 2,000 calories. To lose weight then, you need to consume less than that each day. Does it really matter when you eat what? As long as you stay below that 2,000 calorie mark, you will lose that difference.

The bottom line is that the best thing you could do for your weight loss program is to eat healthy, so if you’re getting the munchies at 12:00 am, enjoy that snack. In the long run you will be better off.

Yossi Muller, CNWC, is a nutritionist with a private practice in Lakewood and also gives a college course in Applied Nutrition. His unique approach to nutrition is reaching hundreds of men in local businesses, schools, and organizations. Yossi can be reached at 732-806-7373. 

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There are 11 Comments to "New Column: Ask the Nutritionist: Is it True That Eating Before Bedtime Causes You to Gain a lot of Weight?"

  • anonymrs says:

    How do you submit a question? Here in the comments section or is there a special email?

  • lwkdprm says:

    yossi is the best in the business

  • Steve says:

    Being the best also comes with a price tag- I heard it is difficult to get an appointment with him.

  • to anonymrs says:

    his email is posted in the introduction I already sent in a question.

  • Moishe says:

    WHen I go to sleep right after eating, I toss and turn all night.

  • Gedalia says:

    When I dont eat right before bedtime I end up waking up earlier because Im hungry!

  • A Grateful Client says:

    I used Yossi and was one of his first clients. He was with me and guided me through “Thick and Thin” in a most professional, understanding and caring way. Thanks for all the support and help.

    WEIGH TO GO!!!!!
    A Grateful Client!

  • Fred says:

    He helped me lose over 70 pds in less than 2 months. It’s not easy to get an apptmt with him but trust me, it’s worth pushing for!!!

  • anonymous says:

    It takes 2 hours for the food to empty from your stomach, so don’t eat 2 hours before you plan on going to bed.

  • Eli says:

    I had the opportunity to meet with Yossi a few months ago. He really knows his stuff and is very motivating.

  • Jog-a-thon Rules !! says:

    Yossi is the best. & Yes – u can still get an appt w/ him. He’s also a talented musician/composer & he’s my son’s nutrition teacher at R’ Sofer’s Yeshivas metzuyanim. I also hope to use him for my other son’s piano lessons. Yossi Rocks !! DB