So, it is widely believed that eating calories late at night leads to weight gain. Is it because you had already eaten your calories during the day so these are excessive calories or is it some type of late night process?
I looked at two different studies: one suggested that there was no difference in weight gain and another showed a minimal gain - but in that study, there was a major confound.[/quote]
It is mostly about calories for the average person who needs to lose weight. Many people have bad habits snacking at night, especially when they choose high-calorie foods like chips or ice cream. Those foods do also particularly promote fat storage because the carbs raise insulin, and when the body has carbs available for energy, the fat is stored.
But when you have someone who eats a bowl of ice cream and a bag of chips every night not to eat after X PM, that one little rule could eliminate 800 fattening calories from the daily total.
[quote]Now, I have read that triglycerides are higher if you sleep after you eat and your insulin levels and metabolism could go down. So, this means that one should just make sure to move around after eating late at night; don’t sleep right after eating.
But does anyone have different research or evidence on this? [/quote]
I haven’t heard anything about the triglycerides effect.
Insulin levels – well, people are more insulin resistant in the evening. This was the motivation behind the rule not to eat carbs at night. I am not convinced it matters.
“Metabolism” – people seem to have all kinds of erroneous ideas that you can so easily make your “metabolism” go up and down. Your body burns certain number of calories for energy at rest. Rest is about the same for using a computer, sitting, or sleeping. REM sleep phase is about 20% lower. Eating a meal will never make the metabolism go down. Any meal requires some energy for digestion.
[quote]Another tenet is the belief that one should eat multiple small meals throughout the day. If the reason one should do this is to avoid starvation mode and to bolster the metabolism, then how much of an effect does food really have on the metabolism? I read this:
Lyle McDonald had this to say in summarizing meal frequency:
"TEF (Thermogenic Effect of Food) differs for the different nutrients, on average it constitutes about 10% of a typical mixed diet. So every time you eat, your metabolic rate goes up a little bit due to TEF.
So, all calories have the same effect - regardless of portions or frequencies in which they are consumed. I had also read a study that said that they compared people who had eaten 3 meals a day and people who had eaten 6 meals a day - they ate the same amount of calories - and there wasn’t a weight gain difference.
It really seems like, at the end of the day, it truly is just about calories. Does anyone have any research that suggests otherwise?
For the average person to control his WEIGHT, which is what all these studies are about, NO factor matters more than calories at the end of the day.
Even for weight control, diets with more protein will be better because of the high thermic effect of protein, better blood sugar and insulin control, appetite control, and the fact that protein is the last thing the body wants to use for energy.
However, weight control studies are not applicable to bodybuilders or anyone interested in body COMPOSITION. There’s a pretty simple logic for eating 6 (or more) meals containing protein throughout the day if you want to GAIN MUSCLE: there’s only so much your body can digest and absorb at one time. More small meals means more hours spent in positive nitrogen balance with amino acids available for repair and growth of muscles. This logic has seemed to work for bodybuilders for a long time. If there are any bodybuilders who did as well eating 3 or fewer huge meals per day, I have never heard of it.
When I advise average people (i.e., not bodybuilders) who simply need to lose a bunch of fat, though, I don’t think there is a significant measurable advantage for them to eat 6 meals a day unless they have low blood sugar issues. For example, my mom weighs 200 pounds. There is no need to tell her to eat “6 small meals” a day. Getting the protein ratio up would give her an advantage, but ending every day in a deficit is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing.