Late Night Eating and Fat Loss

One hot topic when it comes to fat loss is late night eating.

How many times have you heard someone say, 'I always make sure I don't eat after 6 PM, since anything eaten after that point is more likely to turn to fat'?

Probably more times than you can count. But, how accurate is that statement, really?

Not accurate.

Do you think your body looks at the clock and thinks, '6:01', well, that food is just not needed now and we better convert this to body fat.'

Obviously not. While your body definitely does require more calories when you are more active during the day, which for most people is typically during the morning and afternoon hours, if you are working out in the evening or even if you just lead a fairly active lifestyle, it will actually hinder you if you don't eat late at night.

Further, the fact of the matter is that it's not eating late at night that causes you to gain weight. It's eating too many calories - which often occurs late at night (think about the types of foods you're typically eating later in the evening), that causes the problem.

If you want to eat something before you go to bed - eat it. I promise it won't harm your weight loss efforts as long as the following rules are being met:

1. The calories consumed during this snack are figured into your daily calorie intake, which is still in alignment with what's needed for you to see weight loss.

2. You are not starving all day only to binge at night (this is neither healthy or a good habit to get into).

3. The snack consists of some protein and preferably more fat than carbs (assuming you have not just finished a workout, then the opposite is true).

Point three isn't really necessary, it's just a good addition to prevent overnight blood sugar spikes that wake you up halfway through the night.

But, if those three conditions are there, I promise you, you can have a late night snack and not have problems with your weight loss results.

And, if you just happen to be more concerned at the moment with muscle building, then you damn well better be eating at night as the body needs those calories.

Late night eating. Don't fear it - just be smart about it.


Phil said...

Thanks Shannon. Big fan of the blog and your articles on

What are your thoughts on using a slow release protein directly before bed?

ShannonClarkFitness said...

Hey Phil,

Good to hear from you - and thanks about the articles.

Definitely, a slow release protein before bed is a good idea - cottage cheese is fantastic for this, or any solid source of protein will work also.

Some people do use casein protein powders, but I'd say get in some solid food as well.

Thanks for reading.