It looks like the time you eat your food is just as important as what you’re munching on. According to a recent study conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the time you eat can actually make or break your weight loss progress.
The study found that eating right before your bedtime can cause you to gain weight. The researchers followed the eating patterns of 110 college-aged students and found that there is a link between melatonin onset, which is the time your body begins to produce melatonin, the main sleep hormone, and your BMI. Their findings showed that people who ate closer to the time they went to bed had higher BMIs and body fat percentages in comparison to those who ate earlier.
“We found that the timing of food intake relative to melatonin onset, a marker of a person’s biological night, is associated with higher percent body fat and BMI, and not associated with the time of day, amount or composition of food intake,” lead author and researcher at the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Andrew H. McHill, PhD, said, according to Medical Xpress. “These findings suggest that the timing of when you consume calories, relative to your own biological timing, may be more important for health than the actual time of day.”
To put it in simpler terms, McHill is stating that your biological sleep clock has more of an influence on your weight gain than the actual time on your clock. Eating around the normal time you go to bed, whether that’s 8 p.m. or midnight, will cause you to gain weight, according to the study’s findings.
However, the researchers noted that more studies need to be done in order to confirm their results. The study only focused on a small demographic of young students and does not represent the whole population in terms of diet and body clock rhythm.
Late night eating isn’t the only cause of weight gain. Find out the 20 Weird Reasons Why You’re Gaining Weight and kick those habits to the curb to keep the pounds off for good.