Should You Eat Before Bed Or Not?

Often the most appropriate answer to just about any question a personal training client asks is: “It depends!” Having a nighttime feeding right before bed is a perfect example. Most people believe that a bedtime meal will lead to weight gain and may adversely affect their sleep and ultimately their health. Well, according to a recent study, it depends!

The Health Impact of Nighttime Eating: Old and New Perspectives.
Kinsey AW, Ormsbee MJ. Nutrients. 2015 Apr 9;7(4):2648-2662.

Nighttime eating, particularly before bed, has received considerable attention. Limiting and/or avoiding food before nighttime sleep has been proposed as both a weight loss strategy and approach to improve health and body composition. Indeed, negative outcomes have been demonstrated in response to large mixed meals in populations that consume a majority of their daily food intake during the night. However, data is beginning to mount to suggest that negative outcomes may not be consistent when the food choice is small, nutrient-dense, low energy foods and/or single macronutrients rather than large mixed-meals. From this perspective, it appears that a bedtime supply of nutrients can promote positive physiological changes in healthy populations. In addition, when nighttime feeding is combined with exercise training, any adverse effects appear to be eliminated in obese populations. Lastly, in Type I diabetics and those with glycogen storage disease, eating before bed is essential for survival. Nevertheless, nighttime consumption of small (~150 kcals) single nutrients or mixed-meals does not appear to be harmful and may be beneficial for muscle protein synthesis and cardiometabolic health. Future research is warranted to elucidate potential applications of nighttime feeding alone and in combination with exercise in various populations of health and disease.

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A great food option at night is my Bedtime Muscle-Building Concoction. Many people agree that the meal tastes great, helps with sleep, and builds muscle.

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