Does Eating Before Bed Make You Fat?

You've heard the warnings—fall asleep a few minutes after your last meal and whatever you ate will turn straight to fat. Luckily, it's bunk. To quote renowned nutritionist Alan Aragon, "Your body doesn't store fat more readily during the evening than any other point during the day."

Photos courtesy of Corbis and HarperOne.

You've heard the warnings—fall asleep a few minutes after your last meal and whatever you ate will turn straight to fat. Luckily, it's bunk. To quote renowned nutritionist Alan Aragon, "Your body doesn't store fat more readily during the evening than any other point during the day."

It's not just Aragon busting the myth—all the way back in 1987, Italian researchers compared eating earlier in the day (10 A.M.) to eating later (6 P.M.) and found that while there was no difference in weight loss, fat burning was actually higher in the people who ate their meals after 6 P.M. Then a 2006 University of Oregon study came to this bold conclusion: Eating too many calories causes weight gain regardless of when you eat them. In other words, the timing of your meals doesn't matter; all that matters is the foods you eat.

So why not eat your highest calorie meal at night if that's what fits your schedule? If dinner parties are an essential component of your social fabric, then eat your meals guiltlessly at 9, 10, or even 11 P.M. It won't make a difference in your waistline—as long as you're not reaching for the four-cheese mac every night of the week.

—Adam Bornstein and John Romaniello, authors of the new book Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha.

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Photos courtesy of Corbis and HarperOne.

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