Featured__ Is Late Night Eating Actually Bad For You?

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We’ve all heard it before: late night eating will make you fat. Most of us have sworn off midnight snacks at least once, usually without any real evidence of how it's affecting our bodies. But is late night eating actually bad for you?

While eating late at night can make you gain weight, it’s not for the reasons you think. Our body doesn’t store everything as fat after a certain time--realistically our body doesn’t even know that it’s dark out. The reason late night eating can make you gain weight is because most people tend to overeat at night.

Nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, who has worked with celebs like Reese Witherspoon, Channing Tatum and Drew Barrymore, rejects the 7 p.m. cut-off rule. Kimberly says the notion that everything eaten at night turns to fat is a complete myth. If you’re someone who stays up until midnight, she recommends eating dinner around 8 p.m. so you don’t wake up starving the next morning. “When you are hungry, feed yourself,” Kimberly says. “It’s not healthy to go to bed starving because you will just wake up feeling famished, and you might not make such great choices in the morning.” Plus, a study at Florida State University showed that when you eat a small snack before bed, it can actually boost your morning metabolism.

Late night eating isn’t for everyone, though. For some people, it will disrupt your sleep cycle and cause you to wake up more often than usual. If you’re going to eat before bed, try to keep it low-cal, like an apple with peanut butter or a small bowl of cereal, and give your body enough time to digest before going to sleep. So try saving enough calories to make your bedtime snack between 150-200 cals, and eating no fewer than two hours before bed.

If you still find yourself feeling excessively hungry late at night, you should be thinking about your hydration. Are you drinking enough water? If you’re dehydrated, your body can easily mistake thirst for hunger. It’s also important that if you’re going to eat late at night to make sure that you’re actually hungry and not just stress eating, which is pretty common. If you have trouble controlling your late-night cravings, try skipping the bedtime snack and eat a little extra at your last meal instead to keep yourself feeling full throughout the evening.

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