Does Consuming at Evening Make You Acquire Weight? (What 32 Research Say)

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Advantages of eating less at night

The central theses

  1. Many people say that eating more calories at night slows down weight loss, while eating more calories in the morning speeds up weight loss.
  2. The vast majority of studies show that skipping breakfast or eating most calories in the evening does not cause weight gain or slightly affect weight loss.
  3. Read on to find out exactly how nightly food affects your metabolism, weight loss, hunger, and more!

Browse online for weight loss tips and you'll always get the idea that you shouldn't eat at night.


Proponents of this idea usually claim that your metabolism doesn't work as well at night and therefore all the calories you eat are stored as fat rather than being burned for energy.

Sounds … kind of scientific … but is it true?

Is your metabolism really slowing down during the day?

Are calories naturally consumed more in the evening than calories consumed in the morning?

Can eating more calories in the morning and fewer calories in the evening really help you lose weight?

The answers to all of these questions can be found in this article.

You will learn exactly why people think that you gain weight at night, which really leads to weight gain (note: it is not eaten at night) and what science actually says about how late eating affects your metabolism.

Let us begin!

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Why do people think you gain weight at night when you eat?

For years, personal trainers, weight loss gurus, and internet doctors (not) have claimed that your metabolism is fastest in the early morning and gradually slows down as the day progresses before it hits the ground in the evening.

So they claim you should eat more calories in the morning and fewer calories in the evening to avoid gaining fat.

This idea is summarized in the old saw, which says: "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a poor man."

But is that true?

Does your body really burn fewer calories in the evening?

And if so, does that mean you gain more body fat if you eat more calories in the evening?

Before we go any further, let's first define what metabolism means.

The Oxford English dictionary Are defined Metabolism as follows:

The chemical processes that take place in a living organism to preserve life.

Two types of metabolism are often distinguished: constructive metabolism or anabolism, the synthesis of the proteins, carbohydrates and fats that form tissues and store energy; and destructive metabolism or catabolism, the breakdown of complex substances and the resulting production of energy and waste materials.

In other words, when we say metabolismWhat we mean by this is the body's ability to use different chemical processes to produce, maintain, and degrade different substances, and to provide energy for cells.

So what does it mean to have a slow or fast metabolism?

These distinctions relate to your body's metabolic rate, the total amount of energy the body uses in a single day to perform the many functions of the metabolism.

When people talk about your metabolism, they generally talk about yours Basal metabolic rate (BMR), how many calories your body needs to stay alive (without physical activity).

Generally, when someone says your metabolism is "slow" it means that your BMR is lower than normal and when they say your metabolism is "fast" it means your BMR is higher than normal.

So is it true that your metabolism (BMR) slows down naturally during the day?

Well, no.

Even if this were the case, it would not make the food fatter at night than earlier in the day.

Why not?

First, research Research conducted by USDA scientists shows that the BMR does not change significantly during sleep, much less in the evenings before bed. That means your BMR is the same in the morning, afternoon, evening and even while you sleep.

Indeed, some research The study, conducted by Columbia University scientists, shows that BMR actually occurs in people with healthy weight increases easily while you sleep.

Second, we play Devil & # 39; s Advocate and say that your metabolism decreases slightly during the day. Would that be important at all?

No, it wouldn't.

The reason for this is that your body fat stores are determined by what is known as Energy balance, which can be expressed by this simple equation:

Energy In – Energy Out = energy balance

If Energy In exceeds Energy Out for a period of time, you are consuming more calories than you burn Excess calories. If you stay in excess calories for days, weeks and months, you gain body fat.

The opposite is also true.

If the energy intake exceeds the energy intake for a certain period of time, you consume fewer calories than you burn Calorie deficit. If you stay in calorie deficit for days, weeks and months, you will lose body fat.

Here is the kicker:

After every meal, your body burns a few calories for instant energy and stores some in the form of body fat (researchers call this that postprandial Status). After your body has finished digesting your meal, it relies on body fat storage to meet its energy needs until the next meal (researchers call this post-absorbing Status).

You switch between these two conditions throughout the day, gain a little fat here, lose something there, and for most people, these little fat drops even increase by the end of the day. That said, even though you gain fat after meals and lose it between meals, the net result is a wash.

Here is a table that illustrates this well:


The blue parts are the periods when your body has excess energy due to food intake. The gray parts are the periods when the body has no energy from food and therefore has to burn fat to stay alive.

You can think of your body fat stores as a checking account. Make a deposit every time you eat a meal, and make a withdrawal every time you pass a few hours between meals (even when you are asleep).

Whether you gain weight or not depends on whether you make more deposits or withdrawals over time. It doesn't matter when you make these deposits or withdrawals during the day.

As long as your average calorie intake over a period of time more or less matches your average calorie consumption over a period of time, you will stay the same weight regardless of when you eat those calories all day.

Finally, one more reason to ignore this mistake because your metabolism slows down in the evening: if you exercise in the evening, you burn far more calories than in the morning.

In other words, even if Your BMR decreased during the day, and if This led to increased fat gain in the evening. You can work around this problem by deliberately exercising in the evening.

Not that this is important since your metabolism is definitely Not Drive slower in the evening, but there is another needle in the balloon: "Eating at night definitely gives you weight."

The bottom line is that your BMR is always humming more or less at the same pace, which makes sense if you think about it. Your brain, liver, kidneys and other organs (which are responsible for most of your BMR) need just as much energy from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. After all, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Summary: Your metabolism is no slower in the evening than in the morning, and even if it were, calories consumed at night would not be fatter than calories consumed earlier in the day.

What science really says about eating at night

eat digestion late at night

So you know that your metabolism doesn't really slow down in the evening, and you know that calories consumed at night are not inherently thicker than calories consumed earlier in the day.

In other words, weight gain and weight loss still result in calories versus calories.

And at this point you may be wondering if there are advantages to eating less at night?

Well, some studies suggest that this could be the case.

Some in particular research shows that eating more calories earlier in the day can help increase calories thermal effect of foodor how many calories your body burns to digest the calories you consume.

The best example of this is a study conducted by scientists from the University of Lübeck, where researchers divided 16 healthy, non-obese participants into two groups:

1. A large breakfast group that consumed most of their daily calories at breakfast and had a medium-sized lunch and a small dinner.

In particular, they consumed 69 percent of their calories at breakfast, 20 percent at lunch, and 11 percent at dinner.

2. A large group that consumed most of their daily calories at dinner and had a mid-sized lunch and a small breakfast.

In particular, they consumed 11 percent of their calories at breakfast, 20 percent at lunch, and 69 percent at dinner.

Both groups followed this protocol under close supervision in a laboratory. They consumed the same number of calories and the same amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat and did not exercise during the study.

The only difference between the two groups was whether they ate most of their calories in the morning or in the evening.

The researchers measured the participant's energy consumption before and after breakfast and dinner each day of the study, and then averaged the results to determine which diet plan resulted in the highest TEF during the study.

They took various blood samples from participants throughout the day to measure their blood sugar, insulin and other hormones, and measured the participant's hunger and cravings for candy before each meal and a few hours after dinner.

The result?

The large breakfast group experienced more than twice as much TEF as the large dinner group, which is approximately 50 to 100 calories a day.

The large breakfast group was also less hungry during the day and had fewer cravings for sweets five hours after breakfast and immediately before dinner than the large dinner group.

Hunger in the large dinner group increased after breakfast (remember, they ate a very small breakfast) and only went back significantly after dinner. In the large breakfast group, hunger decreased significantly after breakfast, decreased during the day, and continued to decrease after dinner.

What do you think of these results?

First of all, this study shows that eating a large breakfast can increase your overall daily energy expenditure (TDEE) more than eating a large dinner. Over time, this could lead to more weight loss while eating the same number of calories overall.

Second, this study shows that eating a hearty breakfast is less hungry and craving all day.

However, before you redefine your meal plan, there are a few limitations to consider.

First, if you're already eating a hearty breakfast, it's unclear whether eating more calories earlier in the day has any added benefits.

For example, if you already eat 800 calories in the morning, it is not clear whether eating 1,200 or 1,500 could help you burn proportionally more calories via TEF than if you ate those calories in the evening.

Second, this study was not a real apple-to-apple comparison between the breakfast and dinner TEF.

We don't have to look at the details of the study design, but in short, TEF was given as a percentage increase from baseline – not the total number of calories burned.

This is because the large breakfast group consumed most of their calories after an overnight fast, which means that their baseline TEF levels would be near bottom. However, the large dinner group ate most of their calories after eating breakfast and lunch, which means that their TEF was likely to have been slightly increased initially.

It is therefore possible that the group experienced a smaller relative with a large dinner The increase in TEF is due to the fact that their TEF values ​​were higher right from the start.

Think of it this way: Imagine you are already driving at 30 mph and then accelerating to 60 mph (increasing your speed by 30 mph). Then another driver who parked nearby accelerates to 60 mph (increasing his speed by 60 mph).

Who's going faster?

None of you! You drive at the same speed, but the other driver has a higher speed percentage increase their speed than you.

The same thing may have happened in this study: the TEF was already higher in the large dinner group, and therefore the percentage increase was less than in the large breakfast group.

All of this means the following: It is possible that both groups actually burned the same absolute number of calories from TEF, but the large breakfast group simply saw a greater percentage increase in calorie burn after eating their morning meal.

Another limitation of this study is that participants did not exercise, which means that we do not know if the results would apply to people who exercise regularly. Research shows that exercise can Increase TEF regardless of when you eat and it also has positive effects appetitewhat could have affected the results.

Finally, it is also possible that the group had less TEF with a large dinner because they were not used to eating such a large dinner.

Another study Research conducted by scientists at the University of Nottingham found that adherence to a consistent meal plan can increase the TEF and compliance with an irregular meal plan can lower the TEF. Therefore, once the group in the large dinner group has become accustomed to eating more calories in the evening, it is possible that the people in the large breakfast group experienced as much TEF as the large breakfast group.

There is another reason to doubt that eating in the morning is inherently better than eating in the evening:

Intermittent fasting.

This popular strategy usually involves skipping breakfast and eating most of the calories later in the day. Research has shown that it promotes weight loss as effectively as diets that include breakfast.

For example a study Conducted by scientists from Kennesaw State University, 26 young, active men had a high-protein, low-calorie diet and did weight training for four weeks. Half of the participants consumed all their calories from around noon to 8 p.m. (basically skipping breakfast), and the other half followed a normal eating schedule.

After four weeks, both groups lost the same amount of fat, gained the same amount of strength and muscle, and had the same level of hunger throughout the study.

Further studies on intermittent fasting by scientists from Texas Tech University and the University of sydney found more or less the same thing: breakfast doesn't improve weight loss, and skipping breakfast and eating more calories in the evening doesn't affect weight loss.

Just to drive a few more nailed into that coffin, two more studies, one by scientists the University of Chieti and one from scientists the University of São Paulo found that overweight people who ate all their calories at breakfast, all their calories at dinner, or spread their calories over multiple meals throughout the day all lost the same amount of weight.

What does it all mean?

Eat more calories in the morning could Increase energy consumption and decrease cravings, but these effects don't seem to be significant (and may not exist at all, or at least not in all situations).

All in all, how much If you eat long term, this has a much greater impact on your body composition than when you eat.

More accurate …

  • If you eat more calories in the morning instead of the evening, you won't lose weight on your own – you need to maintain a calorie deficit to lose weight.
  • If you already have a calorie deficit, eat more calories in the morning can help you burn a few more calories a day and feel less hungry, but it's still not clear how effective this strategy really is (or whether it works at all).
  • If you eat enough calories to maintain your weight, you will not gain weight if you eat more calories in the evening.

Summary: Eating more calories in the morning can easily increase energy consumption and reduce hunger. However, it is not yet clear how effective this strategy really is (or whether it works at all). Most studies show that your calories in weight loss don't matter when you eat.

The conclusion to the nightly meal

late night eating effects

Although many people believe that their metabolism slows down during the day and that calories consumed at night are naturally thicker than calories consumed in the morning, this is not true.

Your metabolism (really your BMR) is more or less the same at all times of the day. Even if your BMR dropped in the evening, the calories you consumed at night would not magically increase.

The only way to gain weight is to maintain excess calories over time. Eating these calories all day long is more or less irrelevant to your body.

Although some studies have shown that eating more calories in the morning can easily boost your metabolism, there are some issues with this research that make it difficult to say how effective this strategy really is.

In addition, the vast majority of studies have shown that skipping breakfast or eating more calories in the evening has no effect on weight or fat loss.

That is, people who eat the most (or even all) their calories in the evening lose as much weight as people who eat more or all calories in the morning.

So if you go back to the original question: Do you gain weight at night when you eat?

No, definitely not.

If you eat too many calories over time, you gain weight. That is why controlling your calorie intake is the most important thing you can do to lose weight or avoid weight gain.

If you want to learn more about how your calorie intake affects your body composition and how you can control your calorie intake to lose weight, maintain your weight, or build muscle, read the following articles:

How Many Calories Should You Eat (Using a Calculator)

This is the best macronutrient calculator on the internet

The final guide to effective meal planning

Lose weight faster in 5 easy steps

The ultimate guide to replenishing (without just getting fat)

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What do you think of late night meals? Do you have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

+ Scientific references


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