Oh, the late night snacking is why we’re fat

The Washington Post recently ran “Why eating late at night may be particularly bad for you and your diet,” which discusses emerging research that after dinner snacking is bad for you. The thrust of the article is that calories consumed at night result in more weight gain than the same number of calories consumed earlier in the day. Likewise, even on a calorie-controlled weight loss diet, subjects lost more weight if they didn’t eat before bed. Proposed reasons are multi-factorial, of course.

There sorts of data always make for great popular science reading. If making this one change is the first step someone can use to finally make a positive impact in their health, that’s great. But otherwise, it’s just another in the ever-growing list of “things we do wrong” including eating processed food, salt, gluten, not enough protein, “GMO,” insufficiently paleo, blah blah blah. How does a normal person know when to start? Especially when as a country we conflate eating “healthy” with losing weight, and most of the discussion in the media and online is total BS.1 Eating healthy is great. Being a healthy weight is great. Exercise is also independently great. These things don’t necessarily go together.

I for one would probably never change my gluttonous meal to be lunch instead of dinner.2 And the ability to maintain a change is much more important than the power of the change itself.


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