In short, the answer to the question: Does late night eating cause weight gain is no, it does not. Now, there have been surveys done on people’s timely eating habits and several surveys show that people who eat late at night have weight gain problems. At the same time, what these surveys don’t necessarily explore is whether the people who eat late at night are eating their regular meals or are they eating outside of their daily calorie needs. In other words, if you’re going to be snacking late at night then you would find that late night eating does cause weight gain. On the other hand, if you are eating your required daily calorie amount then the time would not matter and the answer to does late night eating cause weight gain remains: No, it does not.
The Body Doesn’t Process Food Differently in the Absence of Sunlight
Just to make sure we’re all on the same page: Humans aren’t plants – neither do we need sunlight to make food nor do we need sunlight to process and digest food. Weight gain occurs when you consume more calories than you burn/spend – simple as that. The time of day does not matter. This fact is especially relevant to shift workers who work during the night and sleep during the day. So long as you consume the calories you need, it would not matter that your meal times are during traditional sleep time.
It’s About What You Eat
Going back to the surveys mentioned, if the survey were to do a thorough job, it would investigate whether people who are indulging in late night eating and eating food post-dinner i.e. late night snacks. More often than not (and this is important), potato chips, ice cream and chocolate tend to be popular late night eating choices and not a soup, a piece of grilled chicken or a salad. Therefore, the food that you eat late night matters in addition to whether you’re eating more than you should.
Cut Out the Need for Late Night Eating
If you are eating the right amount for your body, you wouldn’t feel hungry to begin with – regular 3 meals or 6 minimeals will ensure that your body is getting the calories it needs. A diet rich in protein will ensure that the body does not feel hungry out of turn either. Remember: Temptation is a mental battle but if you are trying to lose weight and cutting out more calories than needed, your body will ensure that it gts the calories it needs no matter what time of the day it is. So ,the best way to answer the question of does late night eating cause weight gain is to first answer the question why the need for late night eating.