“This is the first study to show that eating later in the day…makes people lose less weight, and lose it slower,” says the study’s lead author, Marta Garaulet, a professor of physiology at the University of Murcia in Spain.
Garaulet conducted a second study of healthy women the following year, and showed that when participants ate a big lunch after 4:30 pm, they burned fewer calories while resting and digesting their food than they did when they ate at 1 pm—even though the calories consumed and level of activity was the same.
In conclusion: Whether eating before bed is a good or bad idea is really about what you’re trying to address. If GERD, disturbing dreams, or an inability to lose weight are vexing you, putting three hours between your last mouthful of food and your head hitting the pillow is certainly worth a try. If, on the other hand, you tend to wake up feeling groggy, cranky and/or want to up the intensity of your morning workouts, a small, nutrient-dense nosh in the hour before you hit the sack could better set you up for the day.
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