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not eating after a certain time

So I've recently lost 30 pounds through diet and lots of exercise (I still have a ways to go). A co-worker who noticed my loss asked me how I was losing the weight. She seemed impressed but added that I'd soon find that it's healthier not to eat after 6:00 every evening. I've heard from several other sources not to eat after a certain time in the evening. I'm not sure why she chose this particular time as the cut-off time. I don't even get home from work until 5:30 on a good day. There's no way I could have dinner made and be done eating by 6:00! I know it's true that you don't really need that many calories later in the day, but won't they get stored and processed the next day? I thought it was more a matter of more calories out than in and you'll lose weight. Does it really matter what time they're consumed? How many people follow a strict "cut off" time for eating?

Mon. Nov 13, 2:11pm

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I don't know the argument for the 6pm rule, but I do know that it takes your stomach ~3 hours to digest a meal so you shouldn't eat within 3 hours of your bedtime. Since my bedtime is 12:30am, and 9:30pm seems a bit late, I try to make my latest dinnertime 8pm and usually shoot for an hour earlier than that. If I eat too early, I get really hungry around 10-11pm and that would definitely be foolish, so 6pm doesn't work for me.

Monday, November 13, 2006, 2:22 PM

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to me, the whole idea of not eating past such-and-such a time is a bit too gimmicky. to avoid certain digestive discomforts, i try not to eat directly before going to sleep, but it's silly to pick a random time and give it some kind of importance. i agree with the op that calories in vs calories out is most important.

Monday, November 13, 2006, 2:22 PM

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I make a rule for myself to not eat after 8pm. I'm usually in bed between 11pm-1am and I HATE sleeping with food in my stomach. I wake up feeling really gross.
I know plenty of people though (mostly in the bodybuilder/fitness competitor areas) that eat right up 'til they go to bed with no problem--bear in mind what they eat is almost all protein.
I'd say do what feels best and works best for YOU. Everyone is different so what works for everyone will be different. :)

Monday, November 13, 2006, 3:09 PM

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I'm attempting to do this, but more in an attempt to avoid late night binging. Problem is, I have serious insomnia, and having something in your stomach before you go to sleep can help. Some foods do just the opposite though.

Monday, November 13, 2006, 3:22 PM

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I never go to bed hungry and don't really monitor what time I eat dinner. I have lost 4-5lbs per month for the last couple of months on PeerTrainer. I agree with calories in/calories out, but do what makes you comfortable.

Monday, November 13, 2006, 3:25 PM

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I usually eat soon before I go to bed -- I mean very soon -- and I've lost about 30 pounds and reached my goal weight. Maybe it affects some people differently than others.

Monday, November 13, 2006, 11:11 PM

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I've thought about cutting myself off at a certain time, but if I tell myself no, I just want to eat. If I tell myself that I can eat, I usually don't. Reverse psychology maybe?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 2:05 AM

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Eating late at night = SUMO DIET

... do you really want to look like a sumo??

A sumo eats late at night to gain weight. When you eat, your insulin levels rise. If you're asleep in this state, the energy has nowhere to go so it gets stored as fat instead of turning into muscle or useable energy.

This is also one of the arguments for why you shouldn't starve all day and have a big dinner when you're so hungry you can't control yourself ("hoarder" behavior).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 1:08 PM

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to the 108 poster

i'm curious where you got that information from...i'm very interested in reading more about the insulin rising and turning to fat when you sleep. do you have a study or article you could me / us to?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 1:20 PM

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that should have said "do you have an article or study you could" REFER "me / us to?" sorry 'bout that...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 1:21 PM

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1:08 poster here...

I've read this in a few places over the past year, including either Self or Fitness magazine. Anyway, here's an online article comparing crash diet behavior with sumo wrestler behavior (scroll down a little, there are a couple of ad links at the top, but no pop-ups). In case the link doesn't work:


Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 1:30 PM

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the way i interpretted the article it seems that one would have to follow ALL of the routine in order to have the food one consumes before sleeping turn into fat. if one were to eat normally during the day, i doubt that one would experience this type of thing.

"...Sleep right after eating -This is inevitable because his body is naturally exhausted after a period of starvation. When the sumo sleeps right after eating a huge meal, his insulin levels are really high and his body will store that energy as fat instead of turning it into muscle or usable energy. "

and based on the author's other comments about eating and dieting, i just don't think this article has much merit. but thank you for sharing, others may get something out of it...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 2:18 PM

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My personal trainer told me this is a BIG myth

He said, if you are an active person and workout (cardio + weights) at least 3 times a week ... it doesn't matter when you eat really.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 3:28 PM

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Well I've had 4 different personal trainers tell me otherwise.
They're all pretty much a bunch of meatheads, so I don't pay much attention to their diet advice. After all, how many of them have every had a BMI over 25?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 3:50 PM

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so they are meatheads and their diet advise does not matter. so why mention that they all said otherwise on the topic of food becoming fat being a myth? why would you even pay a personal trainer or incorporate one into your routine if you don't think they offer credible advice?

i have heard many different arguments for both sides of this debate, but i have not found any scientific, proven research that suggests food turns to fat when you sleep.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 3:56 PM

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this article is found on the National Institute of Health website. it has many tips and precautions. although it does not mention eating right before sleeping, it is interesting.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 4:02 PM

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3:56 poster - in my state, personal trainers are not legally allowed to provide nutritional advice unless they are also a registered dietician. I hire them for their expertise on fitness, not food. However, they don't hesitate to share their opinions on dieting strategies - usually whatever is popular at the moment.

Perhaps you haven't found any scientific proof that late night eating is bad because you don't want to. Sounds like it might be a bad habit you have no interest in breaking.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 4:18 PM

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pretty presumptuous of you to make such a charged statement about my eating habits just because i disagree with an opinion of yours. i actually have searched many publications and websites for all kinds of metabolic information. are you able to provide any credible research to back up your argument? maybe you just enjoy slinging mud instead of providing sound information, but i dare not assume.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 4:25 PM

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or maybe she's just a b*tch.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 4:26 PM

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It seems as if we're all talking about different things when we're talking about "eating."

Personally, if I leave work at 10 pm, I eat dinner (400-450 cals of yummy veggies) and go straight to bed.

After-dinner bingeing is a whole different story. Starving oneself all day is a whole different thing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 6:06 PM

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Its not the time that matters, its what you eat when-ever

I would not worry very much about the '6pm rule' its more of a guideline. Just watch what you cook. If its healthy, and good for your family, then don't feel guilty about serving it, or eating it when-ever. Just watch how much you eat after six, and try not to eat after 8pm at all.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 7:07 PM

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Wow, 4:26 poster, you really smoked her, asterisk and all. Way to win a debate.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 8:11 PM

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i'm not sure what it's doing to my body as far as fat storage goes . . but i know i've lost almost 60 lbs (from 206 down to 148) by exercising, eating healthy AND eating whenever the heck i'm hungry whether it be 5 pm or 11pm. it may not work for everyone but it definitely has worked for me. i've gone from a size 16/18 to a size 8.

i'm a big believer in the calories in/calories out method. i don't think it's a great idea to eat a heavy meal right before bed but i'd say there is nothing wrong with grabbing a snack if you are hungry an hour before bed. just make sure you are hungry, not just bored!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 10:41 PM

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I eat right before bed almost every night, and all types of foods!! I love to do it cause it relaxes me, sometimes I don't but most of the time I do, I don't really think about it. But if I do I don't get up in the morning and scarf down waffles.

It's about learning about your body what makes you gain and what makes you lose. But I listen to my body and the rest follows as long as I am eating healthfully and exercising.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 10:55 PM

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Eating and Sleeping

I think giving your body a bit of time to digest food before you go to bed (your digestion slows to almost a halt when asleep) would be best for many reasons.

The problem with eating right before bed is that when you wake, you are still somewhat full. This usually sets up a bad eating pattern.... Eating late, not eating breakfast... being very hungry around lunch (and craving unhealthy food to quickly satiate)

You may gain weight b/c 1. your body stores the sitting food into fat
2. you don't eat breakfast and therefore eat unhealthy later on due to frantic hunger

Your body can burn and digest food very well in the morning (7am-11am).
This is known through ancient Chinese Medicine.
It is also why you might hear the saying: Eat like a King for breakfast,a prince for lunch, and a pauper for dinner.

If you are going to eat late... let it be light, like soup or steamed veggies and rice.

Most people are accustomed to eating little to nothing for breakfast, eating a medium size meal for lunch, and a medium to large meal for dinner.
But remember, foods like steak and potatoes may not be that easy for one to digest while you are sleeping.

If you are going to have to eat a late dinner a couple nights a week, just keep it light and simple. (Not raw- which can be just as hard to digest as a big hunk of meat)

Sunday, March 28, 2010, 9:18 PM

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