Can I eat at night?

How many hours before sleep can I not eat?

On the one hand, the body, in fact, does not care about the time of eating - the body is only concerned with the total caloric intake. Theoretically, if you observe the daily rate of calories, you can eat it at a time just before bedtime, and still will not gain excess weight and get fat.

On the other hand, metabolism really slows down in the evening, and during sleep, a key role in metabolism begins to play fat tissue, synthesizing the hormone leptin. In this case, the presence of carbohydrates in the stomach can adversely affect the body's ability to burn existing fats. What is the hormone of leptin hunger? Why is it the main reason why people can not control their appetite and gain weight.

Metabolism after six evenings

The human biological clock is closely related to the rhythms of changing day and night. That is why the brightness of light affects not only the level of the melatonin sleep hormone, but also many other metabolic parameters. For example, in the dark, the digestive system and stomach work are noticeably slowed down.

However, it is extremely difficult to name the specific hour at which these changes begin( "do not eat after six pm").Most likely, this affects sunset time - that's why Ayurveda, the traditional Indian health theory, recommends not eating after sunset.

Do carbs damage overnight?

During sleep, the metabolic rate decreases by about 15-35%( 1), the glucose( and insulin) level in the blood drops, thus increasing the level of fat-burning growth hormone. Also, as FitSeven already mentioned above, during sleep, the hormone of leptin hunger is actively involved in the metabolism process.

In fact, at night, the body minimizes digestion processes and activates the use of existing fat as fuel - while the presence of large amounts of food in the stomach will definitely cause an imbalance. And the more simple carbohydrates will be in such food, the worse.

The habit is in the evening

The main problem of "evening calories", according to nutritionists, is primarily a banal overeating. If a person did not have the opportunity to have a normal breakfast and lunch, it is obvious that he will get hungry for dinner - and, in the end, will eat more calories than he needed.

Unfortunately, this is a very typical case, since for most hardworking people it is dinner that becomes the main meal of the day. The situation is aggravated by the fact that attempts to reduce the size of food eaten in the evening quite often result in uncontrolled overeating at night.

Night gluttony

Awakening from hunger and a night trip to the refrigerator are found only in 1-2% of the population, but for a quarter of obese people this is normal( 2).This behavior is caused by disturbances in the nighttime oscillations of leptin and cortisol, as well as inadequate response of the body to insulin.

In order to avoid overeating, it is important to saturate the body with the right energy during dinner - that's why you need not just cut portions, but use as much useful fiber( in the form of green vegetables) and vegetable fats. Avoiding sugar and fast carbohydrates.

Harm of sugar is not just its high caloric content and increased risk of tooth decay. What exactly is sugar harmful?

Final recommendation of

In spite of the fact that from the theoretical point of view, calories are "always the same"( that is, in fact, it does not matter the time of their use) in practice, the habit of making dinner the main meal is usually closely related to a set of excess weight. In this subcutaneous fat is recruited mainly in the abdominal region.

That's why the best time for evening meal will be a period 3-4 hours before going to bed - this will allow the body to digest and fully assimilate carbohydrates, facilitating a smooth transition to the night mode of using free fatty acids as the main source of energy.

The best food for dinner

As the body literally works on fats at night, the quality of oils and fats used for supper plays a decisive role in the fight for a slim and fit body. It is important to minimize the animal fats and oils of low quality( especially sunflower).

The most useful and right choice for dinner is a portion of food with an energy value of 450-500 kcal, containing 25-35 g of protein, 15-25 g of fats( mostly useful omega-9 fatty acids in the form of olive oil) and 50-75 g of carbohydratesof which 8-10 g of fiber and not more than 7 g of sugars).


In theory, there should not be a difference between "morning" and "evening" carbohydrates for an organism - however in practice this difference is quite noticeable. That is why in order not to gain excess weight in the abdomen, it really is necessary not to overeat at night.

Scientific sources:

  1. The impact of sleep disorders on glucose metabolism, source
  2. Fat circadian biology, source