Do late dinners and snacks make you fat?

Do calories eaten closer to bedtime count more than those consumed earlier in the day? The debate rages on for dieters. But before you swear off food when the sun heads south, an expert weighs in with some practical advice.

Health news website MyHealthNewsDaily reported this week that it takes about three hours to digest a typical dinner of about 600 calories (assuming it contains a healthy mix of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables). If you have an early dinner in an effort to avoid eating post-sundown, you might be fighting off hunger pangs right around bedtime - hence, you're likely to lose the battle, head to the fridge, and eat what you find there.

The New York Times recently reported that research on the subject of late eating and weight has yielded mixed results, and most of the studies have been carried out in animals. However the paper also cites a study on adult men and women published this spring that supports the claim that late-night eating can affect your waistline, although it is not really understood why.

If you're trying to lose weight, it's best to avoid raiding the fridge in your pajamas, unless of course you're raiding a fruit cup. But for many dieters, nighttime can bring a weakened resolve to stick with a healthy regimen, which is one reason nighttime nibbling is a no-no in the world of dieting.

To avoid this common pitfall, MyHealthNewsDaily suggests brushing your teeth to keep from eating after dinner. Nothing spoils the palate for salt and vinegar chips quite like minty fresh breath.

After dinner, don't immediately start cleaning the kitchen, or even better, have someone else do it. The rationale: you might start picking on leftovers while you clean. Give your body the required 20 minutes to register that it is actually satiated.

Also, eat a "substantial" afternoon snack, advises MyHealthNewsDaily. "If you know that a late dinner is in the cards, have a snack in the late afternoon that includes some protein, carbs, and veggies" to take the edge off your appetite and control overeating at dinner.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Design, Marketing and Media Manager

    £27000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: HR Assistant

    £17447 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is a leading centre fo...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Case Handler

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Case Handler is requi...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Sales Apprentice

    £15000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence