T Nation

Eating Before Bed

Forgive my ignorance on this, but conventional wisdom heard from most folks says you shouldn’t eat before bed if you are looking to drop fat.

I’m not particularly convinced of that, and I far too often get massively hungry around… well, right now.

What is the proper meal to have before bed? Should it be more protein, or does carbohydrate intake at that specific time not really matter if you’re working it off?

It should be noted that I’m at the point now where I’m really trying to work on my diet, being as my metabolism very quickly slowed down in the last year, and unfortunately coincided with me getting a desk job that has had my activity levels strongly drop off as well.

Well according to Oprah you shouldn’t, but look what it has done for her haha. A slow Digesting low carb protein shake is what i usually take, it helps your body to not eat your muscle tissue whilst your body is in a fast mode. If your protein shake doesn’t make you feel full take less water with it.

I have heard of guys waking up at 3am just to have a protein shake then resume sleeping when they are taking a fast burning protein.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
Forgive my ignorance on this, but conventional wisdom heard from most folks says you shouldn’t eat before bed if you are looking to drop fat.

I’m not particularly convinced of that, and I far too often get massively hungry around… well, right now.

What is the proper meal to have before bed? Should it be more protein, or does carbohydrate intake at that specific time not really matter if you’re working it off?

It should be noted that I’m at the point now where I’m really trying to work on my diet, being as my metabolism very quickly slowed down in the last year, and unfortunately coincided with me getting a desk job that has had my activity levels strongly drop off as well. [/quote]

ALOT of people seem to have protein + fats as their last meal of the night before bed. The school of thought is that slow digestion and absorbtion of protein throughout the night is anti-catabolic during the night’s fast. Slow digesting protein like casein will do the same as above or you can do casein + fat as well.

Most people are also carbphobic around here and would probably suggest against having carbs in your last meal. This never made sense to me, assuming we’re all weight training. If those carbs fit into your macros/calories for your diet plan, then I don’t see a problem. If theres glycogen to be replenished (we ARE weight training) and we consume carbs, no matter the time glycogen WILL be replenished. So in my mind, its not something to worry about. Plus, having carbs before bed helps me sleep (while cutting this is important for me when calories are low).

Eating the RIGHT foods before bed will help preserve muscle mass on a diet, which will allow your body to burn more calories all day long, so in effect, eating before bed will actually help you lose weight (and I mean actual ‘fat’ weight, not just any random type of body composition)

S

I generally opt for a casein protein shake or a couple servings of cottage cheese before bedtime.

My opinion, just to throw it in, is that you want to have a steady amino acid release into your system as you sleep. Casein is slow absorbing (Supposedly, I think the effects are exaggerated though personally) and since fats make globules in the stomach, they can help delay absorption.

Too many people fear carbs before bed (Yet have cottage cheese, irony), carbs aren’t bad IMO, but an Insulin spike is, as I have heard it can adversely interact with the GH release that happens during sleep.

So anything that is hugely insulinogenic is out IMO, everything else should be fine (Any gel forming fibre would be great as well, I recently added glucomannin to my routine)

[quote]elusive wrote:

ALOT of people seem to have protein + fats as their last meal of the night before bed. The school of thought is that slow digestion and absorbtion of protein throughout the night is anti-catabolic during the night’s fast. Slow digesting protein like casein will do the same as above or you can do casein + fat as well.
[/quote]

Is there a quick meal that can be made that can blend casein with the right fats? Peanut butter sprang to mind because of it’s high fat content, but what food besides a shake contains casein protein?

[quote]
Most people are also carbphobic around here and would probably suggest against having carbs in your last meal. This never made sense to me, assuming we’re all weight training. If those carbs fit into your macros/calories for your diet plan, then I don’t see a problem. If theres glycogen to be replenished (we ARE weight training) and we consume carbs, no matter the time glycogen WILL be replenished. So in my mind, its not something to worry about. Plus, having carbs before bed helps me sleep (while cutting this is important for me when calories are low).[/quote]

I had been staying away from carbs at night, but I really don’t get an overload of carbs in my diet to begin with, most times I’m under 200. But I was kind of looking for a more beneficial meal, and being as I have eaten carbs late at night for quite a while and it’s been less than beneficial for me, I figured I would change it.

I have found a liking for natty peanut butter+celery.

Seems to be fairly decent, not as good as cottage cheese or casein as far as protein source but it does its job

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:

I had been staying away from carbs at night, but I really don’t get an overload of carbs in my diet to begin with, most times I’m under 200. But I was kind of looking for a more beneficial meal, and being as I have eaten carbs late at night for quite a while and it’s been less than beneficial for me, I figured I would change it.[/quote]

Yeah, I would ditch the carbs before bed. About an hour or so after you fall asleep, your body produces a big spike of growth hormone. High glucose levels (from eating carbs right before bed) will lower GH release. My GH shuts down on weekends, when I have beer before bed.

I like turkey or roast beef, followed by a little peanut butter or greek yogurt. I’m sick to death of protein shakes, I need something I can sink my teeth into and actually chew in order to feel satisfied.

[quote]EmmetAus wrote:
Well according to Oprah you shouldn’t, but look what it has done for her haha. A slow Digesting low carb protein shake is what i usually take, it helps your body to not eat your muscle tissue whilst your body is in a fast mode. If your protein shake doesn’t make you feel full take less water with it.

I have heard of guys waking up at 3am just to have a protein shake then resume sleeping when they are taking a fast burning protein.[/quote]

People that wake up in the middle of the night to have protein are obsessive-compulsive morons that do not understand the much more anabolic potential of a full night’s sleep and the detrimental impact of waking up middle of the night has on your adrenals. I think even Lowery had an article on it recently saying the benefit/risk ratio doesn’t make it worth it.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
elusive wrote:

ALOT of people seem to have protein + fats as their last meal of the night before bed. The school of thought is that slow digestion and absorbtion of protein throughout the night is anti-catabolic during the night’s fast. Slow digesting protein like casein will do the same as above or you can do casein + fat as well.

Is there a quick meal that can be made that can blend casein with the right fats? Peanut butter sprang to mind because of it’s high fat content, but what food besides a shake contains casein protein?
[/quote]

doesn’t cottage cheese have casein? why not blend cottage cheese and pb? i like cottage cheese + coconut milk + cinnamon or unsweetened cocoa.

[quote]storey420 wrote:
EmmetAus wrote:
Well according to Oprah you shouldn’t, but look what it has done for her haha. A slow Digesting low carb protein shake is what i usually take, it helps your body to not eat your muscle tissue whilst your body is in a fast mode. If your protein shake doesn’t make you feel full take less water with it.

I have heard of guys waking up at 3am just to have a protein shake then resume sleeping when they are taking a fast burning protein.

People that wake up in the middle of the night to have protein are obsessive-compulsive morons that do not understand the much more anabolic potential of a full night’s sleep and the detrimental impact of waking up middle of the night has on your adrenals. I think even Lowery had an article on it recently saying the benefit/risk ratio doesn’t make it worth it.[/quote]

AS someone who has been on the losing end of many battles with insomnia, there is not a chance in hell that I will PURPOSELY wake up in the middle of the night.

If the main goal is fat loss, I would just stick with a lean meat and veggies as your last meal…or a shake. You don’t really want fat or carbs before bed if you are trying to lose fat. I’m sure you are aware of the DC method of carb/fat cutoffs by now?

2tbs Natty PB + scoop of casein. Roll into a ball, fridge for a couple hours. MMMMMM

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
If the main goal is fat loss, I would just stick with a lean meat and veggies as your last meal…or a shake. You don’t really want fat or carbs before bed if you are trying to lose fat. I’m sure you are aware of the DC method of carb/fat cutoffs by now?[/quote]

As someone who spent the last ten years trying to gain weight, I am unaware of most nutritional things aside from, “Eat as much as possible and try to get a shitload of protein.”

So no, I am not.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
waylanderxx wrote:
If the main goal is fat loss, I would just stick with a lean meat and veggies as your last meal…or a shake. You don’t really want fat or carbs before bed if you are trying to lose fat. I’m sure you are aware of the DC method of carb/fat cutoffs by now?

As someone who spent the last ten years trying to gain weight, I am unaware of most nutritional things aside from, “Eat as much as possible and try to get a shitload of protein.”

So no, I am not. [/quote]

haha, well the premise is that if you feed your body fat and carbs prior to bed it will use that as fuel instead of the body fat. Having just the protein and maybe some veggies for satiety will still give you some muscle sparing effects without running the risk of adding BF.

So…in a perfect world I would have some 93% lean beef with a bowl of spinach leaves or just a casein shake with maybe 1 tbsp of PB.

[quote]Yo Momma wrote:

Yeah, I would ditch the carbs before bed. About an hour or so after you fall asleep, your body produces a big spike of growth hormone. High glucose levels (from eating carbs right before bed) will lower GH release. My GH shuts down on weekends, when I have beer before bed.

[/quote]

The insulin spike has to be of a certain significance to adversely affect GH release, a small amount of low GI carbs (so low GL overall) won’t be much of a problem in this regard.

Has everyone forgotten that carbohydrates help in the uptake of tryptophan and synthesis of serotonin/melatonin perchance? Sounds like something I would want before bed there.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
storey420 wrote:
EmmetAus wrote:
Well according to Oprah you shouldn’t, but look what it has done for her haha. A slow Digesting low carb protein shake is what i usually take, it helps your body to not eat your muscle tissue whilst your body is in a fast mode. If your protein shake doesn’t make you feel full take less water with it.

I have heard of guys waking up at 3am just to have a protein shake then resume sleeping when they are taking a fast burning protein.

People that wake up in the middle of the night to have protein are obsessive-compulsive morons that do not understand the much more anabolic potential of a full night’s sleep and the detrimental impact of waking up middle of the night has on your adrenals. I think even Lowery had an article on it recently saying the benefit/risk ratio doesn’t make it worth it.

AS someone who has been on the losing end of many battles with insomnia, there is not a chance in hell that I will PURPOSELY wake up in the middle of the night. [/quote]

Yea, agreed. Waking up in the middle of the night just to have a shake is a bit extreme, but what i was saying is that they were taking a fast burning protein like whey and not casein and i personally haven’t done it and i didn’t say it was the better option, i have just heard of it being done.

I personally wouldn’t bother waking up in the middle of the night for a shake because it would disrupt your sleep cycle. I would prefer to just Take Casein and get a good nights rest.

Got these JUMP Bars from a buddy who plays pro beach volleyball. Thet are too sweet for me to use as snacks so I freeze them and eat them at night before bed to curb my sweet tooth. They are super low in sugar and tasty as hell. They actually have glutamine, creatine and fish oil in some of them. I think the company’s name is JUMP Nutrition? Not too high in protein though. I sleep really well after eating them however and I’m the leanest I have ever been.

Thanks for the help guys. Appreciate it.