What to eat at night? A very common question that is rarely answered with certainty. The truth is that our stomach does not work differently if it is day or night, that means eating something at night won’t necessarily be the cause of gaining weight, as a result of the stomach not work fully at night.

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If I eat at night will I gain weight?

The reality is that if we exceed our daily caloric need, with a pretty big meal at night, we might start to add more pounds to our scale. But not because it is at night that we are eating, this applies for lunch or breakfast. If you generally eat more than your body needs, then we will see it reflected on the scale.

In fact an important thing to have in mind is that when we go to sleep the body does not stop working. Many believe that the body goes off while sleeping, the truth is that during sleep the body ‘s repair many cell damages and has ongoing process to sustain life. It is true that metabolism is slower than the rest of the day, but that does not mean that we are not consuming energy at all.

Should I avoid carbs at night and replace them with protein?

This is a myth. Eating at night will not make us fat. What will make us gain weight is the high consumption of food no matter the hour of the day we do so, in the morning or at night. What usually happens when people do not eat meals at night, is that usually decrease the total meal intake of the day which obviously creates a weight loss. That means that eating carbs at night has not the direct consequence of gaining weight, it’s just the fact that the total caloric intake is lower. We do advise to many of our patients to not remove carb consumption at night because many feel way more anxiety. We like to create the perfect environment within the requirements of the patient for him/her to feel comfortable with what they are eating at all hours of the day without feeling repressed. So no, replacing carbs with protein at night will not necessarily keep you off the gaining weight wagon.

Usually at night I eat something very small, from a salad to a slice of bread, just because this will help me keep of weight. Is this true ?

Eat something light or simple at night is more cultural habit than a nutritional one. Most of us arrive tired after work, and there is simply no desire to head into the kitchen and prepare something healthy. Besides those who feel guilty for what they have eaten though out the day try to compensate by eating little at night. The truth is that the evening meal should not be less or more important than the rest of the day’s meals. It must be equally balanced, providing a good serving of fruits and/or vegetables, including some carbs and some protein. The portion of these clearly depends on each individual and therefore it is vital to know the needs of each. As we have talked above, not because it is night time will we gain weight, it is simply the total balance of the day which makes us gain or lose.

The consumption of small foods or even small nutritional value menus, offsets the consumption of important nutrients like vitamins and minerals. This makes it difficult for a person to cover their daily requirements of such, as there is very few people that at lunch time eat the entire portion of veggies required. So the meals at night should be nutritionally well balanced without the need to be a very large serving.

So then, what should I eat?

The nutritional requirements will always be individual, some people can eat at night a meal very similar to that which they had at lunch time, since the burning energy is very high and all these needs should be met. However there are others who need to reduce the portions of what they eat at night, but that should not be a less nutritious food. So whatever you decide to eat male sure it has a healthy structure providing nutritionally rich foods, where, if your daily meals are balanced, a night dish should contain carbohydrates, protein, low fat, fruits and/or vegetables to achieve the perfect healthy weight loss. Check out some options here

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(Example: Quinua burger with beet dip, and lots of veggies)

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