Does eating before bed really make you fat?

Verified on 16/05/2023 by Alexane Flament, Editor
Manger avant de se coucher fait-il vraiment grossir ?

Did you know that your body reacts differently to a calorie taken in the morning than to a calorie taken in the evening?

In fact, some studies suggest that eating late at night or a few hours before bedtime can promote long-term weight gain.

Does eating at night really make you fat? We tell you more!

The timing of calorie intake is important

 » A calorie is a calorie, but your body’s reaction to it is not the same in the morning as it is in the evening , » reveals Harvard Medical School neuroscientist Frank A.J.L Scheer.

In fact, the glycemic index of a food varies according to the time of day at which it is eaten.

According to neuroscientist Nina Vujovic, «  the challenge people face in eating at the healthiest times is that many don’t have regular schedules or they simply don’t have control over their schedules. »

The neuroscientist explains that eating within four hours of bedtime affects two hunger-related hormones. If you eat close to bedtime, you burn fewer calories.

A revealing study

According to the results of the study published in the journal Cell Metabolism , late eaters are 10% to 20% more likely to feel hungry during waking hours, particularly in the morning.

What’s more, the results show that those who eat late have leptin levels 16% lower than those who eat early.

Leptin is a hormone produced by the body’s adipose (fat) cells. It plays a crucial role in regulating appetite and body weight by acting as a satiety signal to the brain.

Leptin manages  » how much petrol is left in the tank « , according to Ali Zentner.

The study reveals, however, that the participants’ sleep duration and quality did not change, whether they ate earlier or later. However, those who ate later burned fewer calories.

Ultimately, metabolism varies at different stages of a person’s circadian rhythm (internal clock). By altering the time at which people take in calories, the rate of caloric expenditure changes dramatically.

In conclusion, specialists recommend avoiding eating during the first hour after getting up, when cortisol levels are at their highest, and avoiding eating during the three hours before bedtime.

As you can see, dine as early as possible, then close the kitchen door to avoid temptation!