It’s one of those things you hear, but don’t actually know if it’s true: Does eating late at night cause you to gain weight?
Derek Johnson, executive nutrition director of The Biggest Loser Resort, says this is definitely more fact than fiction. “Eating during the two-hour timeframe before you go to bed, or any time after 9 p.m., can be costly for two reasons: weight gain and poor sleep (a major cause of weight gain).”
Johnson says the bottom line comes down to eliminating or lessening after-dinner eating altogether. Here are his five tips to help conquer your late-night munchies (which all begins with how you start your morning!):
Eat breakfast. Don’t avoid eating in the morning. The phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” really does hold true. Like all of your meals, make sure your breakfast also includes protein such as eggs, avocado, nuts or protein powder in a shake.
Create a consistent daily eating pattern. It is ideal to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at around the same time every single day. Most people also need one snack between lunch and dinner, which is fine, but make sure it doesn’t push your dinner too late in the evening.
Say no to liquid sugar. Sugar equals fat gain! Liquid sugar in the form of soda, diet drinks, energy drinks and many types of juice, is the worst thing you can drink, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Have protein and “good” fat at every meal. Good fats are not only delicious, but they’re also healthy. Some easy fats to include in your diet are nuts, seeds, avocados and coconut and olive oils, as well as quality organic protein like chicken, fish or grass-fed meat.
Get quality sleep. Lack of sleep makes you eat more just to have seemingly more energy, but don’t fall for it. If you don’t sleep well and your body is exhausted, you won’t crave protein. Instead, you’ll crave carbs. The more carbs you eat, the more you will crave and desire eating, and when you do, you’ll most likely sleep poorly, which leads to weight gain.