This is a question we often hear….Will Eating late/after 6pm Cause Weight Gain?
The idea that “eating after 6pm will make you fat” is one of those myths (like cardio works for weight loss) that’s been repeated so many times that everyone assumes it’s true. When you eat is very important, but there is nothing magical that happens at 6pm that turns a healthy meal into a fattening meal. Fast food is equally bad for you and your figure at 5pm and 9pm. Conversely, a meal of protein and veggies is equally good for you at both 5pm and 9pm.
When Should You Eat?
The most important meal of that day (especially when it comes to fat-loss) is the meal after your workout. For maximum results, your post-workout meal should usually be the biggest meal of the day regardless of when you workout. This is primarily due to something called nutrient partitioning.
Nutrient partitioning is the technical word for describing where your food ends up after you digest it – does the food you just ate end up in your fat tissue (making it grow), or does it end up in your lean tissue (making you look and feel better)? Our kinds of workouts (smart strength training and interval training) helps to improve nutrient partitioning – it encourages your body to put your food in the right place (lean) over the wrong place (your fat cells).
The post workout meal is also important because it helps to improve your recovery. So, if you workout at night you should definitely eat after your workout, even if that means eating dinner at 10pm.
When Is Late Night Eating Bad For You?
Eating ice cream and pizza when you are drunk (hopefully after 6pm!) is definitely bad for you, and will absolutely derail your fat-loss (weight-loss) progress. Eating mindlessly – especially chips, candy, etc. – while you watch late night TV is also bad for you. But both of these behaviors would be just as bad for you at 10am.
How Often Should I Eat? When Should I Eat?
If fat-loss is your primary goal, then you should eat about 3 times per day and probably not more. The research is clear on meal frequency (how many times per day you eat) – the more often you eat the hungrier and less satisfied you are with what you eat. There is this idea that you should force yourself to eat breakfast, and eat a lot of little meals through out the day because it’ll boost your metabolism. There is no evidence to support this idea, and if you look at this from a common sense perspective does forcing yourself to eat when you’re not hungry actually sound like a way to lose weight?