It is really such a subject whose opinions are at odds: eating late in the evening. One says that everything you eat after 20 p.m. is immediately stored as fat. The other says that it makes no difference when you eat something, but it is about what you eat on a whole day. But what is the truth? Can you safely eat something late at night, or would you prefer to leave it until the next morning? In this article we will take you to the reasons why eating late in the evening would be bad and what this really does to your body.
Why would eating late at night be bad for you?
The most common reason why eating late in the evening would be bad for you is because the body will then be in a 'resting state'. You become less active, your body temperature drops and you prepare yourself to go to sleep. Your sleep is not much different, with 6 to 8 hours in one place.
This resting state ensures that your body uses less energy. This increases the chance that the food you eat late at night is stored as fat, instead of being used as an energy source.
This sounds very logical, of course We have not learned before that your daily calories determine whether you gain or lose weight? That is exactly what a 2013 study  found: the moment of the day you eat does not directly affect your BMI. The law of thermodynamics therefore remains in force: if you eat more than your body consumes, you will arrive. If you eat less than your body consumes, you lose weight.
But if it is that simple, how is it possible that this myth persists for so long? That has to do with a number of reasons ...
If you eat late in the day, you usually eat more
If people still eat late in the day, this often means that they eat more than they would otherwise do. Especially in the evenings boredom is often high, you lie on the couch and you grab something to eat. Because your attention is totally not on the food, you eat without realizing it more than if you would otherwise.
The following is a no-brainer, but if you have an extra eating time late at night, you simply get more calories than when you don't have this eating time. It is not a matter of when you eat it, but the fact that you have eaten an extra 500 kcal or more!
Food choices late in the evening are usually unhealthier
If you eat something late at night, is that a salad? Or do you tend to prefer some alcohol, chips, soda or nuts? Most people opt for the latter and with that in mind it is not surprising that late eaters get fat more easily.
Why this is because of different things. First, the convenience. Late in the evening you rarely want to cook extensively, but just grabbing something out of the cupboard has just happened. In addition, emotion and fatigue have a much greater influence on your eating behavior in the evening than during the day. You've finished the day, are tired, bored, perhaps stressed about things that happened at work. Add all those things together and you discover that you are mentally much quicker to make the 'easy choice'. Something also known as decision fatigue.
That is precisely the reason why you often go wrong on a diet in the evening ...
A bad diet during the day causes a bad diet in the evening
The 2 reasons above ensure that eating late in the evening often ends badly. But why is it that some people are sniffing in the evenings and others not at all?
In addition to reasons that have already been mentioned such as stress and boredom, your overall diet also has to do with it. Basically it means that if you pay little attention to what you eat during the day, you don't do it in the evening either.
Do you often skip breakfast because of a lack of time, do you eat a sandwich at work and do you have a microwave in the evening? Yes, then there is a good chance that you will have a hunger attack late in the evening. Not surprising of course if you have received little nutritious and filling food all day.
On the other hand, do you provide a good breakfast, do you make conscious food choices, and are your meals filling enough not to be hungry again an hour later? Then that chance of a hunger attack becomes a lot smaller!
Why eating in the evening is a good idea
We have seen above that eating late in the evening is not necessarily the problem. The problem is rather the food choices and the fact that the total calorie intake is not taken into account. There are also reasons to eat something in the evening, especially when you do strength training.
When do you train?
The first reason why eating in the evening can be a wise choice is entirely related to your training. Some people have the luxury and freedom to train in the morning or during the day. However, if you belong to the majority, you are just working during the day. What that means? If you still want to exercise, you must do so in the evening!
Ask at any gym when it is the busiest time of the day and there is a good chance that the answer will be: "between 19:00 and 20:00". All those people who still work out in the evening, therefore, come home around half past eight, 9 a.m. Does it really sound like a good idea to dive into bed without eating anything after your intensive strength training? I do not think so!
We have already explained to you that although the so-called 'anabolic window' is not as narrow as is sometimes suspected, it certainly is It is important to surround your strength training with protein. But that is not the only thing, the moment after your training is the time that your body cries out the loudest for nutrients.
Is it then a smart move to fill yourself up with calories during the day, to eat little or nothing at this crucial moment? No, it certainly isn't.
So if you train in the evening, make sure you have a good nutritious meal ready after your training. This can be a protein shake this can be a bowl of cottage cheese, this can even be a plate with chicken and rice or some fried eggs if you like to eat this!
Fasting for 8 hours
Fasting, one is more of a fan than the other. But everyone does fast, whether you realize it or not. The average night's sleep lasts around 8 hours, a period in which you do not eat anything. But imagine that you still roll out of the gym 2 hours before you go to sleep. Don't you think your body could use some good nutrients to contribute to your muscle recovery? Sounds like a good idea!
But it is not only when you have exercised that you eat before going to sleep. If you eat every 3 or 4 hours during the day, why not ensure that you are still provided with all kinds of valuable nutrients during your sleep? That is precisely why eating in the evening is so important. Almost indispensable you can say, at least when you are serious about your strength training and body composition.
A protein source that can be absorbed slowly before going to sleep provides your body with the necessary amino acids to prevent you from ending up in a catabolic state. It would be a shame to destroy all the work you do during the day because you do not provide your body with the right nutrients at night ...
So it should not be ...
Eat in the evening, but make the right choices!
Eating late at night does not make you fat. A calorie surplus where you eat above your body needs, that makes you fat. So make sure you don't end up with a bag of chips in the evening, but make sure you have a plan. Make sure you take a protein shake or even a good meal after your workout. Depending on how much time is left before you go to sleep, even an extra meal time can be a smart move. Provide a source of slow proteins such as Night Protein or low-fat cottage cheese. Feel free to add some healthy fats such as nuts, since a complete meal digests considerably slower than a meal consisting of one macronutrient.
So make sure you have a plan and absolutely do not cut back on the most crucial moment of the day: the period after your training. This way you will not only discover that it is a myth that late in the evening makes you fat. You can even discover that this was just the boost that your body needed to make new progression again!
Written by Mathias Jansen