It’s not the when, but the what.
Clients are often asking me how bad is it to eat after 8pm, nervous that it will throw their health goals off track. Eating a late dinner will not make you gain weight. However, that does not mean you should eat a big meal and then crawl right into bed.
Eating too close to bedtime can give you heartburn and indigestion, causing you to have a restless night’s sleep, especially if that meal is heavy or high in calories. When we sleep, our metabolism enters a resting state, so our digestive system (along with everything else in the body) slows down. Leaving that feeling of fullness and preventing you from getting a good sleep.
The weight gain rumors are actually more likely linked to the fact that you are skipping breakfast the next day because you are still too full from the night before. And skipping breakfast has been linked to weight gain and obesity.
The fix? Finish eating your dinner at least 30 minutes before getting into bed to allow your food time to properly digest. If you really need a snack post-dinner, make sure to eat a combination of protein and fiber, and cap it at 200 calories. My top snack choices here are a small handful of pistachio nuts with a few dried cherries or try 1/2 a cheese stick with a few whole grain crackers. These options contain minerals that will help you fall asleep faster. Getting enough sleep per night is crucial to maintaining healthy habits and preventing weight gain.