We have probably all heard the myth that you burn up the food you eat earlier in the day, while late-night calories sit in your system and turn into fat.
The reality: Calories can’t tell time. Your body digests and uses calories the same way morning, noon, and night. They may sit around a little longer if you eat, then lie on the couch and watch TV, but when you move around the next day, your body will dip into its stores. This myth of not eating after 8PM has a large deal to do with the type of food that people tend to eat later at night. People are more likely to grab a bowl of icecream or something higher in calories as a late night snack rather than eat a low calorie snack like a fruit or whole grain cereal.
The best advice: If you often unwind before bed with a bowl of ice cream or buttered popcorn, try cutting the snack out. The calories saved may be enough for you to lose a few pounds a year. If you’re hungry, eat something on the light side. Night eaters tend to overeat (which leads to weight gain no matter when it’s done) because often they’ve been skimping during the day and come home famished. Being so hungry that you grab whatever is at hand means you’re more likely to make poor choices. Don’t go longer than about five hours without eating. If you are hungry after 8 PM, eat something. Just be careful to keep your meals and snacks small.