Close X
Get more out of
by joining the site for free
Free 17-point plan to great health
Twice weekly e-news bulletins
Access to our News, Forums and Blogs
Sign up for free and claim your
17-point plan to great health
Free 17-point plan to great health

Twice weekly e-news bulletins

Access to our News, Forums and Blogs

If you want to read our in-depth research articles or
have our amazing magazine delivered to your home
each month, then you have to pay.

Click here if you're interested
Helping you make better health choices

In shops now or delivered to your home from only £3.50 an issue!


Eating late can put on the pounds (if your body clock thinks it's time for bed)
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

If you're worried about putting on weight, eating last thing before bed is something you should be paying as much attention to as the food you're eating and the amount of exercise you're taking, new research suggests.

But the key seems to be how sleepy you're feeling rather than the actual hour when you sit down to eat your last meal of the day.

People who are overweight seem to eat closest to the time when their body is getting ready for sleep, say researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Interestingly, the actual time when lean and overweight people eat their main meal may be the same, but the body clock of the overweight person seems to be set differently, and is already telling them it's time for bed.

The researchers tracked the eating habits of 110 people, who were aged between 18 and 22 and had different body weights, for 30 days. Those with the highest amounts of body fat were consuming most of their calories within an hour or so before their melatonin levels rose, a chemical signal that the body is getting ready to sleep and its metabolism begins to slow.

This had a far bigger impact on weight gain than the amount or type of food being eaten, or the level of activity or exercise, or how long the person slept, the researchers discovered.

Food spacing—the intervals between meals—also had a part to play in weight gain. Eating meals too close together, or even waiting too long between meals, also sends out the wrong signals to our metabolism, and blocks the healthy processing of food. Ideally, there should be around a four-hour gap between meals, the researchers say.


(Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2017; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.117.161588)

You may also be interested in...

Latest Tweet


Since 1989, WDDTY has provided thousands of resources on how to beat asthma, arthritis, depression and many other chronic conditions.

Start by looking in our fully searchable database, active and friendly community forums and the latest health news.

Positive SSL Wildcard

Facebook Twitter

Most Popular Health Website of the Year 2014

© 2010 - 2017 WDDTY Publishing Ltd.
All Rights Reserved