Does Eating Right Before Bed Make You Fat?

In a recent study published online in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) on September 6, 2017, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) examined the relationships between body fat and body mass index, and the timing of food consumption, to time of day and to the body’s circadian or body clock. This is the first time that the timing of meals has been studied in real world settings, in relation to melatonin onset, which marks the onset of sleep.

“We found that the timing of food intake relative to melatonin onset, a marker of a person’s biological night, is associated with higher percent body fat and BMI, and not associated with the time of day, amount or composition of food intake,” stated lead author Andrew W. McHill, PhD, researcher with the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at BWH. “These findings suggest that the timing of when you consume calories, relative to your own biological timing may be more important for health than the actual time of day.”

Researchers concluded that these results provide evidence that the consumption of food during the circadian evening/night, independent of more traditional risk factors such as amount or content of food intake and activity level, plays an important role in body composition.

Do you want to lose weight?  As the founder of Fitness for Health, a state-of-the-art, therapeutic, fitness facility located in the Washington, DC, region, I recommend exercising before bed.  Do you give into your cravings while watching TV at night?  Try exercising instead. According to an April 2013 study in the journal, Obesity, our circadian system makes us hungriest a few hours before bedtime. But you may feel fuller after working out.  A different study in the journal, Metabolism, found that perceived fullness was higher among participants after 12 weeks of aerobic training than before they were exercising. So, a brisk walk after dinner each night may make you less likely to snack before bed.

Fitness for Health creates unique exercise programs based on a person’s individual fitness goals.  Want to lose weight or maintain weight management for adults or kids?  Interested in toning your body?  Aspiring to improve your athletic edge?  No problem!  Whether you are a young child or a senior citizen, Fitness for Health can you help you and your loved ones reach your full potential this autumn.