Late night eating piles on the pounds

October 1, 2009


Regular mealtimes are not just something your mother insisted on, they could also be a good way to help you lose weight, and with currently more than 300 million obese adults worldwide every little can help.

A Northwestern University study has found that eating at irregular times, especially late at night, does affect weight gain. Night time is when your body uses sleep to regulate many of your bodily functions and eating before bedtime puts an extra strain on that system. That means that digestion of your food gets put on hold, as it is not so important to the body as the maintenance and repair of more essential functions.

Our circadian clock, or biological timing system, governs our daily cycles of feeding, activity and sleep, with respect to external dark and light cycles. Recent studies have found the body’s internal clock also regulates energy use, suggesting the timing of meals may matter in the balance between caloric intake and expenditure.

Your body’s own circadian rhythm dictates those bodily functions so losing weight may not just be as simple as calories in and calories out. It could also be as simple as changing the time of your main meal.

Shift workers are particularly vulnerable to weight gain because their schedules force them to eat at times that conflict with their natural body rhythms, but all of us could benefit from moving that evening meal to no later than 8pm, and no late night snacks.


Article by  


What do you think of this health article by ? Join the discussion...