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Diet Fallacy #3. Eating late will make you fat

May 12, 2005 12:25 PM

Exposed: The Top Ten Diet Fallacies -
And The Truth to Set You Free
Diet Fallacy #3. EATING LATE will make you fat

It has been commonly assumed that night is the worst time to eat. The logic: night is when the body typically slows down and therefore is more prone to gain fat. Makes sense, but is it true?

There are no conclusive studies or any evidence to prove the assumption that eating late meals causes fat gain more than eating early meals.

Studies reveal that other variables such as the frequency of meals, the glycemic index of food, calorie intake and hormonal balance are the real "power brokers" in the body's capacity to burn or gain fat.

Even so the notion that eating late causes fat gain is deep rooted. The reason: for most people, who typically eat several meals during the day, any additional meal including a late meal maybe "one too many". The result is an overwhelming overloading effect on the body often involving fat gain. Does it mean that eating late is a bad idea? Quite the opposite. If daily food intake is planned properly and the evening meal turns to be the main meal, then eating late could be highly rewarding.

There is a substantial amount of evidence that we humans have adapted well to nightly eating. We carry the same genes of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who were primarily busy gathering or hunting during the daily hours and eating during the nightly hours, while at rest.

Indeed, our body is biologically preprogrammed to work around the circadian clock (i.e. active during the day and relaxing at night). Our inner clock is controlled by two antagonistic autonomic nervous systems: the SNS, with its highly alert "fight or flight" state, responsible for action and reaction to stress during the day, and the PSNS, responsible for relaxation, digestion and sleep during the night. (See Top Ten Diet Fallacies, Fallacy # 1). For that matter our body digests and utilizes nutrients better at night while at rest, than during the highly stressful hours of the day.

Furthermore, night is the time when growth hormone (GH) reaches a peak level. (Peak secretion during non-REM, SWS deep sleep). GH is known to be a potent muscle and bone builder and a fat burner. Late meals, if applied correctly could be most anabolic.

Note that GH actions can not be effectively finalized without the interference of insulin. Late meals, may well take advantage of max GH spike during the night, providing the nutrients required for actually facilitating GH actions, thus promoting protein synthesis in the muscle tissues and fat burning (in particular, abdominal fat).

In conclusion, do not betray your biological destiny. Don't deny yourself from eating late meals. If you do, your body may come back with a vengeance, to reclaim what was taken away from him, often inducing chronic cravings for food at night, which may result in nocturnal bingeing. Finally, late meals often have a relaxing effect on the body, preparing you for sleep. If nothing else, late meals can help bring a happy end for a tough day.
Ori Hofmekler is the author of The Warrior Diet and Maximum Muscle,
Minimum Fat
, published by Dragon Door Publications,, 1-800-899-5111. For more information on the
Warrior Diet Fat Loss Program and Controlled Fatigue Training (CFT)
certification seminars log onto or call
818-992-1994 (866)WAR-DIET