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Is it Bad to Eat Before Bed?

Is it Bad to Eat Before Bed?

A lot of people are concerned about eating too close to bedtime.

On one hand, some people say you’re more likely to gain weight if you eat too late at night. On the other hand, others say that what you eat is more important than when you eat.

This article answers the popular question — is it bad to eat before bed?

Is it bad to eat before bed?

There’s a lot of controversy around eating before bed.

This is because many people believe you’re more likely to gain fat if you eat before bed.

One reason why this belief came around is that your metabolism does slow down when you sleep. Also, animal studies have linked eating late at night to gaining fat (1, 2).

While it’s true your metabolism slows down at night, it still averages out to be the same as the speed of your metabolism during the day. This is because your body uses a lot of energy while you sleep to fuel your brain, organs, and aid processes like recovery (3, 4).

Studies in people show that what you eat is more important than when you eat (5).

Interestingly, some studies show that eating late can have benefits like helping you fall asleep, curb nighttime snacking, stabilize your blood sugar levels the next morning (6, 7).

That said, there are some situations where you should avoid eating late at night. For example, if you’re prone to heartburn, it’s not a good idea to eat too close to bedtime.

However, there’s no real reason why you shouldn’t eat too late if you’re healthy. 

Summary

Eating late isn’t a concern unless you are prone to heartburn. What’s more important is what foods you choose to eat, rather than what time you decide to eat them.

What should I eat before bed

What should you eat before bed?

If you enjoy a late-night snack, try to choose more nutrient-rich, lower-calorie foods.

Some delicious healthy options include:

  • A handful of fruit
  • Apple slices with nut butter
  • A slice of toast with avocado
  • A few squares of dark chocolate
  • A handful of nuts
  • Plain air-popped popcorn
  • Carrots and celery sticks with hummus

While it’s tempting to reach for desserts or other junk foods, they’re often loaded with unhealthy fats and added sugars, which can trigger cravings and lead to overeating. 

Summary

If you enjoy a late-night snack, try one of the healthy options above or other nutrient-rich lower-calorie foods. Avoid eating sugary and junk foods too late.

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Blog written by Ryan Raman MHSC, RD
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