To Eat or Not To Eat? That is Really the Question!

How many times have you heard someone say that if you want to lose weight you should not be eating at night?

Despite what you may have heard, their statements may not be true.

As a matter of fact eating the right foods in the evening can actually promote progress towards your health and wellness goals.

I find it funny that people often look at their clocks and “shut down” their eating, simply because the clock struck 8.  Yet, they will remain awake til 11 p.m. or later.  Where did this rule  come from?  Who imposed a curfew?

Though I understand that a lot of mindless eating may occur while watching television or browsing the web, and that we are likely to burn less calories in the evening than throughout the day, eating at night isn’t bad under the right circumstances and- if incorporating the proper menu items.  That said, here are 3 things to remember to help improve your performance and promote weight loss.

  1. Consume Well-balanced, Low-glycemic Index Meals Later in the Evening

Make your last meal of the evening a low glycemic dinner.  Incorporate plenty of green vegetables and lean proteins such as cod, chicken or turkey.  Don’t be afraid to add some low-glycemic carbohydrates such as brown rice or sweet potatoes.   Here’s a trick… If you have eaten dinner at 7:30 and are still up at 10, your body may begin to crave different foods.  Beware of those cravings, as they are not cravings at all, rather your body asking for more food as it has become hungry.  Your are better served to eat another meal rather than digging through the pantry for unhealthy snacks.

  1. Protein Before Bed Can Help You Build Muscle While You Sleep

Another myth about eating prior to bed is that you will not digest food while you are asleep.  Again, this could not be farther from the truth.  Your body does not shut down just because you are asleep.  Your vital organs are still pumping blood and passing air!  Casein protein-rich meals, such as low-fat cottage cheese, yogurt and whey protein powders consumed prior to bed will help rebuild and repair muscle while you are asleep.  There is plenty of research that supports this.  In 2012 a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that protein consumed immediately prior to bed helps maintain, grow, and repair muscle during the overnight.  If you are actively working out, try a casein protein shake prior to going to bed!

  1. Avoid Fruit and Simple Sugars Prior to Bed

Ok, when is it not a myth that eating prior to bed will make you fat?  When it pertains to fruit and simple sugars!  Fruit and simple sugars (jellies, jams, cakes and pastries) are to be avoided at all costs!  These items cause a spike in blood sugar levels,  therefore unless you are heading to the gym late at night, avoid consuming any of these items later in the evening.

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