Living in a country like Singapore means that the rat race does not end, leading to late nights and irregular mealtimes. Unlike other countries, food is always readily available whether it is a late-night maggi goreng or mee pok. With late-night eating comes the problem of weight gain, well at least that is what most people think but is that really the issue?
Eating 3 Hours Before Bed
The common consensus backed by basic knowledge of biology is not to eat 3 hours before your bedtime. The understanding behind this is that once you have gone to sleep, the calories produced from the food you have eaten becomes fat instead of being used for your other needs.
On the contrary, other studies prove that eating at certain times of the day instead of 3 hours before your bedtime is more effective in preventing weight loss.
Eating At A Certain Time Of The Day
The human body functions based on the circadian rhythm  which you can consider as your sleep/wake cycle. Based on this system, your body assumes that the day is for eating and the night is for resting. Studies showed that if you consume a heavier meal before 3 pm , you are more likely to lose weight rather than consuming a meal after that.
This study was conducted between two groups of participants that had the same amount of rest, exercise and caloric intake. However everyone is different and there could be a different time for anyone at which their body would lose weight at a better rate.
People may find this extremely hard to follow because during lunch, they are usually restricted by their job and when it comes to dinner, they may tend to be more cavalier with their diets and have the mindset that they had burned more calories throughout the day and it only feels right to replace it.
Those who eat late at night are more likely to put on weight as they tend to make poorer food choices meaning those that are low in nutritional value like your chips and ice cream. Of course, growing up in Singapore most of the supper spots around us are filled with unhealthier foods.
At this point, you must be confused because there is evidence that advice eating 3 hours before your bedtime is fine as well as not eating too heavy meals for your dinner or after 3 pm so in this case what should you do?
The answer is quite simple really, all you need to do is stick to the basics which entail sticking to your allowable total daily calorie intake. By sticking rigidly to your daily calorie intake, the timing of your food consumption has lesser of an effect, and this would put lesser restrictions on your mealtime compared to what scientists have advised.
At the end of the day it does not just boil down to what you eat but more of how much you eat. If you are able to get the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat all in one day while having extra calories to spare, then it’s completely fine to treat yourself to a nice snack or two. At the end of the day, the whole process of keeping fit is to be happy.
- Arble DM, Bass J, Laposky AD, Vitaterna MH, Turek FW. Circadian timing of food intake contributes to weight gain. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Nov;17(11):2100-2. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.264. Epub 2009 Sep 3. PMID: 19730426; PMCID: PMC3499064.
- Makayla Meixner MS, R. D. N. (2018, October 2). Does eating late at night cause weight gain? Retrieved July 12, 2021, from Healthline.com website: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eating-at-night
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