Does Eating Late at Night Cause Weight Gain


Have late night munchies? Want to grab a quick snack but you're concerned about your waistline? No problem! Contrary to popular belief, late night eating doesn't make you fat. It all comes down to what you eat and whether it fits into your macros.

Health experts agree that it’s what you are consuming that matters, not the time of the day. For instance, a chocolate bar will impact your weight differently compared to Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

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The Truth about Late Night Eating
It's not uncommon to see people who refuse to eat after 6 pm. Some do it in order to lose weight. Others simply want to prevent weight gain. However, late night eating doesn't necessarily cause weight issues. It can actually raise your metabolism and boost physical performance.

Have you ever heard about the Warrior Diet? This intermittent fasting protocol involveseating one large meal at night and abstaining from food during the day. It's extremely popular among Crossfitters and bodybuilders. Its advocates claim that it increase testosterone and growth hormone levels, promotes fat loss, and stimulates muscle growth.

As you see, late night eating isn't bad for health. The key is to choose quality, high-protein and high-fat foods. Carbs should be kept to a minimum. Also, consider your total calorie intake for the day. If you eat too much of anything, you'll end up gaining weight.
According to researchers, it doesn't matter when you eat. It's what and how much you eat, and how active you are. If you're lying on the couch all day, eating at night isn't too smart. However, if you're the active type, your body will use those calories to build and repair muscle.

For instance, a late high-protein meal or snack will prevent muscle loss. That's whyathletes sip on protein shakes or casein before bedtime.

Some even add coconut oil or crushed nuts to their shakes to slow down protein absorption into the bloodstream. This way, their muscles receive a steady supply of amino acids and other nutrients that support muscle growth.

How to Make Late Night Eating Work for You
If you get hungry at night, keep healthy snacks at hand. Depending on your preferences, opt for:

  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Nut mixes
  • Protein shakes
  • Casein shakes
  • Lean meat
  • Chicken 
  • Fish
  • Bacon
  • Almond or coconut milk
  • Soy milk
  • Natural peanut or almond butter
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
  • Low-carb protein bars

On top of that, you can make your own healthy snacks, such as high-protein muffins, high-protein pancakes, homemade protein bars, protein balls, and more. Just make sure you avoid carbs.

Evidence shows that protein ingestion before sleep improves recovery time and exercise performance. It also suppresses hunger and sugar cravings by lowering ghrelin levels in the body.

In a study, physically active subjects who consumed 27.5 grams of protein before sleep experienced a dramatic increase in muscle mass and strength within 12 weeks. Thus, you have no reason to starve at night. Food is your best weapon against the bulge.

To stay safe, estimate your daily calorie needs and try not to go overboard. Watch your portions and get your calories from whole, minimally processed foods. 300 calories worth of poultry are not the same as 300 calories worth of sausages or fatty meats.


  • Late night eating doesn’t cause weight. It’s what and how much you eat that matters.  
  • To prevent weight gain, snack on high-protein and high-fat foods before bedtime. Keep carbs to a minimum.  
  • Avoid processed foods, fatty meats, and heavy meals. Watch your portions and eat mindfully. Consider your daily calorie goals.