5 Reasons Why You SHOULD Eat Before Bed


[A Dietitian’s] 5 Reasons Why You SHOULD Eat Before Bed

It’s three hours past dinner and you’re getting ready for bed, when you feel the familiar grumble in your tummy. You’ve been told over and over again that eating before bed will make you fat; that eating before bed provides unnecessary calories; that you shouldn’t eat after [insert time here]. Conventional wisdom says that food will sit in your stomach all night long, which will result in packing on the pounds.

Word to the unconventionally wise: Don’t fall for it! These are myths, and not only will eating the right type of bedtime snack not make you fat, it will actually boost your metabolism (Get my (FREE) guide for more ways to do THAT), and a bedtime snack can bring you closer to your weight and overall wellness goals by keeping your blood sugar levels stable. So, don’t push through that hungry feeling and go to bed on an empty stomach, and even if you’re not hungry, it’s still important to eat a snack to reap the health benefits!

Before you go accusing me of insanity, read these five reasons you absolutely should eat a balanced bedtime snack—even if you’re not hungry!

1. Eating a snack before bed can promote weight loss. Yup, you read that correctly! We’ve been falsely told that a bedtime snack is simply extra calories (read my post on why I HATE calories here!). There’s a huge problem with this outdated theory: Weight loss cannot be simplified to an equation of calories in and calories burned. If this were true, you could be drinking all the diet soda and eating all the 100-calorie cookie snack packs you wanted as long as you hit the gym often enough (ugh, I’m feeling sick just thinking about that…but I used to fall for this too (read about how low-fat foods OWNED me and how they made me gain weight.). You see, general health and weight loss are about nourishing your body with the nutrients it needs to work best, and keeping your blood sugar levels stable. When you eat the right amounts of the right foods, your blood sugars stabilize and your fat burning hormone, glucagon, can do its job (i.e. burn fat!!). When you skip the bedtime snack, your blood sugar crashes shortly after you fall asleep, and you don’t sleep well and pack on the pounds. So yes, skipping your bedtime snack can actually cause weight gain. And consuming a nicely balanced bedtime snack of popcorn with BUTTER, or apples and almond butter, can promote weight loss. Yep. Butter helps you lose weight. Consider that your Metabolism Boosting Tip #1 and for my very BEST, dietitian-approved tips for weight loss and skyrocket energy levels, grab my FREE guide here.)

2. Having a satisfied belly will help you to fall and stay asleep. Many people struggle with falling and/or staying asleep. The simplest thing that helps our coaching clients with sleeping is having a bedtime snack. Who would’ve thought!? Before you dish up a heaping bowl of ice cream, keep reading because we’re not talking about filling up on just anything. Your bedtime snack should be made up of the F and C of our PFC mantra. (Protein can interfere with sleep so sticking with fat and carb is perfect!) About 15 to 30 minutes before bed, have a bowl of berries and heavy cream, carrots and guac, apple slices and almond butter, mashed avocado and banana pudding, a serving of my real food Shamrock Shake or a sweet potato with coconut oil and cinnamon (YUM!). Try to stick with a couple tablespoons (or half an avocado) for fat, and a half cup (or half banana or half sweet potato) for carb.

Pictured below: Full fat Greek yogurt + espresso flavored Dynamic Greens (a veggie and fruit powder that sweeten anything and add a nutritional punch!) + Enjoy Life dark chocolate chunks! YUMMMM.

Dietitian_BedtimeSnack2

3. While you’re sleeping, your body is still hard at work and needs energy. In coaching appointments, we work with clients to get to the “root cause” of their weight gain, fatigue, sleep issues, and low energy levels. Once you start regularly supporting your metabolism by following the action steps outlined in my (FREE!) Metabolism Boosters guide, you’ll be on your way to a slimmer waistline and way better energy levels. At bedtime, eating an “FC” (Fat and Carb) snack will support your metabolism which means your body can continue to do fat-burning work while you sleep. We’ve had clients focus on this one key area for just a week or two and see drastic results. A bedtime snack matters!

4. An full stomach before bed= stable blood sugars = better sleeping = healthier life. Sleep affects your immunity, energy level, appetite, metabolism, cravings and your weight. The better you’re sleeping at night, the better you’ll feel all day. Do yourself a favor and eat that healthy fat and carbohydrate before bed so that your body can get the supportive rest it needs to keep you going allllll day long.

5. Bedtime snacks set you up for success. Why deprive yourself of a yummy snack if it will help your weight, energy levels and brain power the next day? Who doesn’t want to pour a couple spoonfuls of heavy cream (or coconut milk if you’re dairy free) over frozen berries and enjoy a delicious sorbet treat before bed if it actually helps your body?

So, start today and make it a priority to incorporate a bedtime snack into your regular bedtime regimen and start reaping the benefits. And go grab my FREE 5.5 Metabolism Boosters guide so that you know just what to do to be on your way to a healthier, fitter, more energetic self. YAY!

Dietitian_Bedtime_Snack

 

Get your Metabolism Boosters Guide!

  • Wow, never heard that you SHOULD have a bedtime snack. I;m at a loss: what are some great bedtime snacks?

    • Thanks for the comment, Rachel! It is counterintuitive and certainly different than what conventional wisdom nutrition tells us! 7 ideas for balanced bedtime snacks are outlined in point #2 of this post 🙂

      • Sorry, thanks! I’ll take any excuse to eat avocado, so this is great. 😉

      • Boo 3

        The bananas and avocado made a wonderful bedtime HEALTHY sweet snack. I felt like I was getting away with something. Thanks so much for the idea.

        • Kateathealthysimplelife

          We’re glad you liked it!

      • Lina

        Always intuitive knew that. Is bad to eat with a too full dinner in your belly, but I can’t eat with an empty stomach, keeps rolling around in bed. I like something small before going to bed, works really great.

    • Dee

      BIG MACS

    • Seth A. Yellin

      Hear here.

    • Teresa Belczynski

      Greek yor Icelandic vanilla yogurt but not fruit flavored

      • Kateathealthysimplelife

        Hi, Teresa! We generally don’t recommend vanilla flavored yogurt (or maple, or any other “flavor” for that matter), as they often have just as much sugar as the fruit flavored ones! Be sure to read those labels, and aim for a yogurt that has less than 15g of carbohydrates per serving. Or, you could make your own vanilla yogurt at home with vanilla beans, and that way you have control over how much sugar is (or isn’t) in it!

  • Terri

    This is very scary for me Cassie. I’ve been ketogenic (or as close as possible) for over a year. I haven’t lost any weight lately and would like to try this. I’ll be monitoring the scale to see how I do!

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Terri! Almond flour would be considered a carb, yes. When weight loss is a goal, it can be difficult to stay far from the scale to check your progress, but if you’ve been eating in balance and and your body still isn’t shedding weight, it could mean that you have some other things going on that need to be healed first. Dietitian Cassie wrote an excellent blog outlining several reasons why the scale may not be budging: http://www.dietitiancassie.com/im-eating-real-food-and-not-losing-weight-part-2/ We would love to offer you personalized suggestions and work with you to put together a plan to help you reach your goals! Email [email protected] to talk to someone on our team. 🙂

    • Cheap Torque

      Being ketogenic for that long can’t be healthy.

    • Cheap Torque

      ” Weigle, DS; Breen, PA; Matthys, CC; Callahan, HS; Meeuws, KE; Burden, VR; Purnell, JQ (2005). “A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations”. The American journal of clinical nutrition 82 (1): 41–8.PMID 16002798.”

  • melissa

    I need suggestions to satisfy
    my sweet tooth!!!!!

  • melissa

    I need a healthy treat/dessert to make for my birthday?! Suggestions please…and thank you

  • TBrwngrl

    Good to know because I am famous for eating something late night (usually healthy). I have never made it a rule to stop eating after a certain time. As a person with insomnia, I know I would have a harder time falling asleep on an empty stomach.

  • Mary

    Cassie, great interview on the Diabetes Summitt!!!! I don’t have diabetes but am trying to balance bs with Adrenal issues. Would all these ideas still pertain? Thanks!!!!

    • Thanks Mary! And yes, absolutely. I’d also suggest working with a coach for specific, individualized recommendations. Thanks for watching the Summit! 🙂

  • Mary

    One more question Cassie! Is almond butter more a carb than protein? For a snack would a little almond butter and fruit be ok?

    • We actually count almond butter as a FAT! So for a bedtime snack, a spoonful of almond butter and a small piece of fruit would be perfect! 🙂

  • Kate

    I would disagree that eating anything with cocoa in it before bed promotes sleep. Caffeine is a major no no for me. I cannot sleep with caffeine in my body, however the other suggestions are perfect.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Kate! The amount of caffeine in cocoa can vary, and some people may not be bothered by it at all, while others may find that they’re more sensitive to it. We’ve also found that when adding fat to a snack that contains cocoa, the caffeine effects are not nearly as strong (not that we recommend having much cocoa before bed—nothing more than the minuscule amount found in the chocolate chips suggestion). Everyone is different, and what we tell all of our clients in coaching appointments is to listen to their bodies, which is sounds like you’re already doing a great job with that!

      • Kate

        Girl, you are spot-on in your reply to me and the way that you were so respectful in writing back just gives me more reason to appreciate you as a fellow earthling. Sometimes I forget that other people aren’t as sensitive to caffeine as I am, thank you for reminding me. 🙂

  • JESUS

    I only eat regular foot at lunch check this new product made in usa excellent for busy people.
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  • Habiba-Azizah

    So what food categories to eat and in what quantity exactly please? All I clearly got was fat and fruits.
    I have issues with bloating, indigestion and constipation. I used to eat before bed coz it’s actually by best shot at getting any sleep . And then I stopped because of the digestion issues.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      We’d recommend speaking with a health coach to get your digestion issues under control. There could be a number of things causing bloating, indigestion and constipation (and this post might have some suggestions to get you started on healing: http://healthysimplelife.com/heal-the-gut-no-matter-what/). As far as a bedtime snack is concerned, aim to eat a serving of carbohydrates and a serving of fat. Your carb source doesn’t need to just be just be fruits though—a cup of warm broccoli with a couple ounces of melted cheese or butter over the top is a great option. Or you could save half of a sweet potato from dinner and heat it up with a couple tablespoons of butter and a some cinnamon. A few carrot sticks and a tablespoon or so of guacamole is another option. It can also be as simple as a handful of berries and a handful of nuts. Or, try sautéing a pear in coconut oil and top it with a tablespoon or so of heavy cream and a few walnuts. Serve a half cup of frozen berries with a couple tablespoons of heavy cream or a quarter cup of coconut milk poured over them. Half a banana with two tablespoons of almond butter would also do the job! The options are endless. Just aim for a combination of healthy fat and carbs, 15-30 minutes before bed!

      • Habiba-Azizah

        Thank you! No bloating, gas or other tummy issues in the morning. Will definitely take the indigestion advice too. Thanks a lot!

  • Hey there! I am a singer, and have been having significant trouble singing. Turns out, I have polyps on my vocal cords due to acid reflux. My doctor has said that I do not need to eat 3 hours before bed due to my and my family’s history of acid reflux. Would you push back against this advice? And if so, what food could I get away with?

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Josh! It sounds like you’re in a tough place! We actually recommend having your bedtime snack 30-40 minutes before you go to bed, and in your case, you should be avoiding all dairy and gluten. What would benefit you is SMALL, simple bedtime snacks, like 1 Tbsp. coconut oil in herbal tea with a 1/4 cup berries on the side, or something similar that wouldn’t require a lot of stomach acid to digest. Struggling with acid reflux at night is common and another reason why we don’t recommend including protein with your bedtime snack—because it requires a lot of stomach acid to break proteins down. Also consider sleeping with your upper body slightly elevated. Of course what we really, really recommend is talking to one of our Dietitian Coaches about your specific issue (since it can be so hard to give individualized recommendations in a comment, and it sounds like your situation is pretty serious!) Shoot us an email ([email protected]) and one of our Dietitian Coaches can help you come up with a specific plan to rid you of your reflux issues and also give you a few talking points you can share with your doctor about why the bedtime snack is so important! 🙂

  • Caleb

    Thank you for the post. I have just been drinking kefir, eating peanut butter (and sometimes cottage cheese) before bed. What would you say to the argument that eating carbs and fat together (mixing tandem fuel) makes you fat? PS I need to get a slow release of protein before bed to feed my muscles. Would this hurt me? Also, I am not looking to loose weight.

    • Those are great questions, Caleb! The right amount and types of carbs and fat actually promote weight loss—not gain! You sound like a great candidate for our coaching programs with one of our dedicated dietitian coaches (http://healthysimplelife.com/nutrition-coaching-overview/), to help provide you with specific recommendations to reach your goals!

  • Rob

    Total rubbish the whole thing – made up simply for hits and advertising revenues in search engines. The science behind it being a BAD idea to eat ANYTHING before bed is proven and there’s nothing more to be said about it.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      We’re sorry you feel that way Rob! There is PLENTY to be said about it, as we’ve had hundreds of clients solve their sleep issues by eating both healthy fats and real food carbohydrates before bed. The science is out there, and we’ve seen it time and time again in the clinical setting. It’s also been “proven” that margarine is better for you than butter, but we now know that is not true, either. Just because something is “mainstream” doesn’t make it true!

    • Mister_period

      I just put it to the test last night Rob. I had a small wedge of cheese AND 2 fig newtons….and I weigh half a pound less this morning then I did yesterday! Oh and I also did this 5 min before nodding off. I was very surprise myself.

      • Kateathealthysimplelife

        That’s great Mister_period! How did you sleep? We’d recommend having real figs rather than Fig Newtons next time (since those can have added sugar), but you’re on the right track! Good work!

        • Mister_period

          Like a new born baby…..YES, i agree, too much sugar in processed foods….that’s why i only ate two. 🙂

      • Richard

        I lose over two pounds and do not eat three hours before sleeping so your cheese and newtons do not look like a good idea to me….

    • Dee

      Hi rob I’ve been on Big Macs every night , and lost 4stone in a month

    • Dee

      Agree

    • Nick

      Your an idiot rob sorry, for most weightlifters and people who exercise you always want food 24/7, so that being said of course gorging on processed foods late at night is stupid. If you eat dinner at 6 pm and nothing until you wake at say 6 am then that’s 12 hours of no fuel for your body which is very bad especially for people trying to build muscle. Many weightlifters drink casein protein shakes or eat dairy products before bed to make your body digest the casein slowly while you sleep. This keeps the body fueled up while the majority of muscle building takes place and fat loss, while you sleep. I am not a paid blogger lol I just saw your idiotic comment and had to respond. Keep starving yourself half the day it’s been working for you so far! Your not a dick at all!

      • Rob

        Your theory is nonsense and not how a body works. Sure it sounds great to explain to a child for example Mister Stalk brings in babies too, they do not appear from a vagina….

        You do not want food while you are asleep, end of story. Also, however you may feel about my opinion it is just that, opinion so feel free to break it down with some reason and qualified argument. Calling me an idiot and a dick says more about you than anything.

        • Nick

          Go read aworkoutroutine.com explains everything there I talked about definitely not nonsense I’ve been doing it myself for months and making much better muscle gains than before I was doing the late night eating. Also my bf is down since starting. Your body does not have a magical time you have to eat before for foods to get digested correctly. As long as you are active your body will take fuel and use it correctly. And btw your theory is unproven most of this type of information is all unproven, therefore making it all subjective but if it works for some why not try it if you see bad effects then stop doing it but I know from experience it works for me and others I know.

          And your body breaks down muscle while you sleep therefore adding protein helps build the muscle back up instead of lacking nutrients needed to repair the damage you have done to the muscles.

  • Alex Goffard

    Your bodies metabolicall system slows down at night making it harder to metabolize certain carbohydrates when sleeping, increasing the chances that carbs will be converted to fat. I understand if you had a light snack consisting of simple carbs like a banana before bed but anything that of complex carb nature or carries a high caloric value probably should not be eatin before bed. I have hypothyroidism unfortunately and am a bodybuilder. I noticed I gained a majority of my weight eating late at night. I would feel very sluggish is the mornings due to late night dinners. My tsh levels werected at a 34.9 when I was tested. I’m a male, 27 year old young adult so it hit me by surprise. Although they stabilized my thyroid hormones, I still feel like crap. I am 215 pounds 6,1ft tall 15 percent body fat. Every spec of body fat is really hard to lose. What can I do to preserve muscle mass while cutting fat being while having a life long thyroid problem?

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hey Alex! Even for our clients with thyroid conditions, we find that eating the right type of bedtime snack is beneficial for metabolism and weight loss. A few bites of healthy vegetable or fruit carbohydrates and a tablespoon or so of healthy fat is all you need. The goal is to slightly bring blood sugar levels up since after dinner they’ve dropped and they ned to be stable for glucagon (your fat burning hormone) to work.

  • Dee

    Last night at midnight had a double Big Mac , large frys vanilla drink 2 cinnamon doughnuts, and 2 Exlacs, ,,,it’s true this eating before bed,no constipation and slept like a log

  • Rob

    The problem here is the language used in the article and the target audience.

    1. Eating before bed is never a “good” idea, it is always bad. There is never an instance where it will do you good. All the nice buzzy language in the world won’t change that.

    2. What you eat before bed will make a difference how “bad” it is. A piece or fruit/fibre/simple carbs = very little bad, if any. A processed food item with lots of seasoning/fizzy drink with sweeteners = much worse for you.

    People weigh less in the morning when they first wake up by 1-2 pounds. So someone has made the rather shortsighted assumption that eating a snack before bed has actually made them lose weight (yes………I know) in the comments.

    The real issue is that eating before bed, especially carbs makes you feel like crap in the morning, regardless of if you have any digestive/hormonal problems. How crap it will make you feel will depend on what you ate, how much of it you ate, the calorie content and if you are sensitive to seasonings that are likely to have you waking up at 3AM gasping for water.

    If the article really is just saying, it’s no big deal to have a piece of fruit before bed….then that’s a different matter altogether and hardly that bad/negligible.

    That piece of fruit will have done you much more good having it a couple of hours before though.

    The article changes none of the rules of common sense and a “snack” should be defined. People who read this article with glee are going to be people who can’t control their calorie intake or people with an unhealthy obsession with their weight. One of those will have been given the green light to gobble down another burger, wrongly. The other will have just had their ridiculous paranoid diet routine added to.

    There are certainly food myths that exist but this article does not cover one of them.

    I would ask Kateathealthysimplelife to substantiate some of this article with specifics.

    • Rob

      Actually, forget about it.
      Just noticed that the people commenting are paid bloggers so it’s all irrelevant anyway.
      Shame that people’s health is being exploited with commercial nonsense like this.

  • Wendy

    I am in my sixties sleep is varied. I often have trouble getting to sleep. I’ve followed the advice no food after evening meal and no caffeine after 9pm. Have to get up twice for a pee.

    Last night threw caution to the wind had a couple of crackers with cheese a picked onion and a cup of tea.

    Couldn’t believe it slept all through till 7pm and woke feeling great.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      That’s great, Wendy! It sounds like a bedtime snack is just what your body needed!

  • Kimbeley

    What would be healthy for me to eat since I am trying to lose weight

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Kimbeley—you’re in the right place! You want to stick to a tablespoon or two of healthy fat, and about a half a cup of vegetable or fruit carbohydrate. So, this could be a tablespoon of guacamole with a handful of carrot sticks, or a tablespoon of real peanut butter (ingredients just peanuts and salt) with half an apple, or even a small serving of almonds with a small handful of grapes. Healing your metabolism and keeping blood sugar stable is foundational when it comes to weight loss, and eating a bedtime snack will help you accomplish both of those things. For a list of healthy fats and healthy carbs, you can download our “Getting Started Guide” here: http://healthysimplelife.com/newsletter/ or better yet, you could meet with one of our Dietitian Coaches for more personalized support and an individualized plan that will help you reach your weight loss goals. Shoot us a message and we can get you started! http://healthysimplelife.com/contact/

  • Vita Talalay

    Very interesting article. I always thought that it can’t be healthy to go hungry to bed. This article points it out perfectly.

    At VitaTalalay sleepblog you can find more articles about, how to improve your sleep. http://www.vitatalalay.com/sleepblog/

  • Davelllogan

    Thanks for the advice, I will give a try

  • Vita Talalay

    This is a great article! I did not know this. As long as you eat the right food at the right time you will feel much better and benefit from it, I think. For other helpful tips and tricks visit this blog. It talks about improving your sleep with food, exercising and meditation. http://www.vitatalalay.com/sleepblog/

  • Cheap Torque

    Some science would probably help to convince me.

  • Cheap Torque

    Also, dark chocolate typically contains caffeine. For example a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar contains approx 12mg of caffeine while the same brand dark chocolate contains 20mg of caffeine…I can’t imagine this is good to consume before sleep as the article suggests.

    I am a biological sciences major and the stuff I read daily from dietitians really irks me.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Cheap Torque! The amount of caffeine in cocoa can vary, and some people may not be bothered by it at all, while others may find they’re more sensitive to it. We’ve also found that when adding fat to a snack that contains cocoa, the caffeine effects are not nearly as strong (not that we recommend having much cocoa before bed—nothing more than the minuscule amount found in the chocolate chips suggestion, which would probably be <10mg of caffeine). This snack is especially beneficial for those who may be having difficulty transitioning to eating real food. Everyone is different, and what we tell all of our clients in coaching appointments is to listen to their bodies. If it works for you, great! If not, avoid.

  • Morgan Douglas

    Almonds are my favorite bedtime snack.

  • Richard

    You will have to search long and far to find a more ignorant article than this one. I am wondering how the author made money on this….

  • didya

    2 tbsp coca powder in a smoothie for bedtime!? thats more caffeine than an espresso.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi didya! The standard shot of espresso actually contains 77mg of caffeine, while 2 Tablespoons of cocoa average about 24mg. The amount of caffeine in cocoa can vary, and some people may not be bothered by it at all, while others may find they’re more sensitive to it. We’ve also found that when adding fat to a snack that contains cocoa, the caffeine effects are not nearly as strong. Everyone is different, and what we tell all of our clients in coaching appointments is to listen to their bodies. If it works for you, great! If not, avoid.

  • MarkhamStreet

    “Our metabolic functions, as controlled by the circadian clock, evolved to cycle in harmony with the Earth’s daily rhythms, to optimize processes such as energy use and storage. In doing so, we became adapted to eat during the daytime, and maladapted for eating at night. Opposing these rhythms, as many of us now do, may challenge our bodies’ normal cycles and set us up for disease.” http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37269/title/Out-of-Sync/

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Thank you for the link, MarkhamStreet! Toward the closing of the article there is one paragraph that states, “Lazar says the experiment has yet to be done to connect the dots between inappropriate food timing, epigenetic activity dysregulated by the clock, and metabolic diseases.” We see day in and day out with hundreds of our clients the bedtime snack making all the difference in both their sleep quality, as well as their blood sugar regulation (the two are obviously connected!). Lazar goes on to make a good point, “But humans, particularly those in developed countries with abundant artificial light, late-night TV, and 24-hour diners, have been putting themselves through an inadvertent experiment over the last few decades.” Our modern lifestyles have changed dramatically, and like we tell all of our clients in coaching appointments, everyone is different, and if something isn’t working, then we continue to explore other areas that can be changed to help them reach their goals. That being said, we haven’t had any of our clients tell us that adding a small bedtime snack (we’re talking a few bites of fat and carbohydrates) to their routine has not helped them. This is why we believe so strongly in the bedtime snack.

      • Jaimie L. Robertson

        There have been many studies done on eating at or near bedtime, and they all come back the same: eating before bed raises your body’s temperature and begins the digestive process, either of which can keep you awake or cause you a lot of tossing and turning. How about you leave the sleep science to the sleep scientists? Thanks.

  • Zac Frank

    You said:
    “Weight loss cannot be simplified to an equation of calories in and calories burned. If this were true, you could be drinking all the diet soda and eating all the 100 calorie cookie snack packs you wanted as long as you hit the gym often enough”.

    This is like saying:

    “Budgeting cannot be simplified to an equation of money in vs money out. If this were true, you could be buying all the yachts and travel packages you wanted as long as you earn enough”.

    The problem isn’t that calories in and calories burned doesn’t balance, it’s that it’s impossible to balance if you eat all that junk because you realistically won’t hit the gym often enough.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Zac! You’re right that “the problem isn’t that calories in and calories burned doesn’t balance.” What we’re saying is if those calories are coming from toxic foods and beverages like cookie snack packs and diet soda (both causing internal inflammation), you can expend more calories than you’re taking in from those things and it doesn’t matter because you’re still harming your body with artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, etc. As long as inflammation (the root cause of most disease) exists from consuming processed foods, the odds that the body will be able to even shed pounds, let alone be healthier for eating and exercising like that, especially for the long haul, is unrealistic.

    • Lina

      Is not only that. Eating mcdonalds 300 calories will make your skin greasy and hard to gain muscles or feel good. Eating 300 calories of veggies, avocado, rice, lighter protein, salad will make you shiny with a healthy glow and not have many pimples or oily skin. For me is pretty simple.

  • szabi

    If I eat before sleeping, even just a snack, I wake up next morning sooo hungry, that I couldn’t do my morning yoga rutine. I must eat immediately.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Try eating a few almonds, a few berries and maybe half of a hard boiled egg or a few bites of some other source of protein just to satiate your raging hunger—or even make a PFC balanced smoothie and only drink enough to take the edge off of your hunger, saving the rest, and then after you practice eat your full PFC breakfast. You have to find what works for you!

      • szabi

        thank you for the advice, I will try to do so

  • Rachel

    For someone with yeast overload or imbalanced gut flora, I don’t want to have carbs or protein in my gut over night, do I? I don’t want it in there longer than it normally would during daytime eating hours. Does the gut work faster or slower at night? Should I at least eat just some fat at bedtime?

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Rachel! We would definitely recommend eating fat at bedtime, and we haven’t seen any adverse effects from eating vegetable carbohydrates (or even protein for that matter) in anyone with yeast issues before bed. This is something that we would be able to work with you on, as yeast overload is nothing to mess around with and very individualized. Shoot us a message and we can help you get your yeast issues under control, just as we’ve successfully done with hundreds of other clients! http://healthysimplelife.com/contact/

  • Buddah beast

    This is the biggest load of rubbish I’ve ever heard lol there’s a thing called common sense that most humans are unfortunately deficient in , our lovely writer here has a chronic case I’m afraid , your body needs a break from digesting and some time for tidying up and repair and guess what ! sleepy time is a great time for that , who would have thought ?, I think a cut off point at say 7pm ( if you go to bed at say 11:30 /12 ) is a good way to go , I’m 14/ 1/2 stone nearly 200 pounds to u yanks , and been doing this a little while now , I feel more energetic in the morning and am more of a savage in the gym , please my fellow humans do not listen to crap like this , metabolism ?, that’s a good one ! Live well and prosper ?

  • Buddah beast

    You are not qualified to give health advice , you must believe in the Easter bunny too , do some proper research this information is misleading !

  • Anna

    I have really come to believe that weight control is mostly about keeping blood sugar levels steady. This makes sense to me.

  • Kateathealthysimplelife

    Hi Jos! By tracking your meals and listening to your body, you learned what you were able to tolerate before bed and what your body didn’t agree with. That’s great! We believe that everyone’s body is different, and what you experience in your individual situation may not be the case for others. We have found that hundreds of our clients have benefited from eating a balance of healthy fat and vegetable or fruit carbohydrates before bed. (Not a meal, just a small snack.) This helps keep their blood sugar stable so they are able to get a restful night’s sleep, instead of waking in the night when their blood sugar crashes. If a client found they were unable to tolerate this, we’d absolutely work with them to find a solution. We recommend a small bedtime snack for everyone who is having difficulty sleeping, but if it is causing YOU to not be able to sleep, then skip it!

  • Kateathealthysimplelife

    The only bedtime snack we recommend is one made up of healthy fats and vegetable/fruit carbohydrates. None of our clients have reported nightmares, indigestion issues, sleeplessness, etc. when doing this, in fact they are able to sleep more soundly and their overall health improves as a result. Binge eating unhealthy foods at night is not an argument against the bedtime snack, it’s an argument for needing to meet with a dietitian coach in order to address the WHY behind their binge eating.

  • Kateathealthysimplelife

    We absolutely agree that weight loss and being healthy are not one in the same! Plenty of our clients have lost weight doing unhealthy things in the past, and wind up coming to see us to help them get their health back on track. It’s so common for people to count calories, over exercise, restrict, etc. in order to shed pounds, but because that isn’t sustainable, the weight eventually comes back, and usually they wind up heavier than when they started because of the damage they’ve done to their metabolism (among other reasons). Everyone’s body is different, everyone’s metabolism is different, and everyone’s needs are different. Calories in/calories out is a flawed concept, this is true. There is an entire chapter on sleep and snacks in Dietitian Cassie’s book, “Why Am I Still Fat: The Hidden Keys to Unlocking That Stubborn Weight Loss” (dietitiancassie.com/book) which may address more of your concerns that couldn’t be included in just a blog post. (This is why she needed to write the book—there is so much to address than just a blog post can cover!)

  • Fangvergnugen

    Nice.

    It’s 3 am, time for a big bowl of leftover spaghetti!

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Well the posts has “BEFORE Bed” in it for a reason! We’d never suggest eating a big bowl of anything at 3am (unless your regular bedtime is 3:30am), and certainly not a big bowl of processed carbs. If you read the article carefully, it does specify what kind of snack is beneficial—one made up of healthy fats and vegetable and fruit carbohydrates. Let us know if you have any questions!

  • Kateathealthysimplelife

    Hi, Sarah! The recommendations in our blog are general recommendations, and someone who is dealing with SIBO would likely need more a more customized plan that would take their situation into consideration. It’s during our 1:1 coaching sessions that we provide individualized recommendations. We have had plenty of clients w with SIBO do really well with a bedtime snack as part of their plan, and none have reported any digestion issues.

    • Sarah

      My husband is pretty severe. He throws up. When it gets bad, it feels like food is “stuck” and not moving along.

      • Kateathealthysimplelife

        That does sound severe, and terribly unpleasant! He would benefit immensely from meeting with a Dietitian Coach–http://healthysimplelife.com/nutrition-coaching-overview/. Please let us know if you have any questions!

  • Emma Harvey

    Hi! I found this article very interesting and I’ve just read it in bed with my night time snack of a banana 🙂 I need a little something before bed, it’s not that I’m hungry but I just seem to need something to help me sleep! I have been a fan of making the avocado/Banana and cacao combo for many years now ???? but I just want to point out that I would never have that just before bed as the cacao (or cocoa) is a stimulant and I feel would actually interfere with sleep (for me anyway!) Thanks again for the info tho ????

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Emma! It’s great that you’re listening to your body and know that you need a bedtime snack. We’d suggest having a little bit of nut butter with that banana to keep your blood sugar from spiking and crashing. And what you said about the cocoa being a stimulant could be true for some, but you’re right that it affects everyone differently!Thanks so much for the comment!

  • Cara Brotman

    This article is so, SO wrong! It expects me to believe that throwing MORE food on top of my dinner will make me lose weight? That’s obviously not true. Another false claim is eating before bed will help you sleep better. WRONG! I’ve experienced first hand that when I eat before bed around 2AM I wake up with so much energy FROM MY BEDTIME SNACK (that’s what food does! It gives you energy!) I begin tossing and turning for hours! I have found what works for me is stopping eating after 6:30. I don’t eat again till around 12 noon the next day. That is called intermitent fasting. Check it out. THAT’S what will help you lose weight not piling food on top of more food. It scientifically doesn’t make sense if you want to lose weight and sleep well! By the way, I’m almost 50 and have the body I had when I was 20 so I think I know what Im talking about. I don’t know what credentials whomever wrote this article has but Dr. Mercola is a VERY well respected Dr. and he certainly says otherwise! Check it out here! http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/11/15/dangers-late-night-eating.aspx

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Cara! First and foremost, we encourage everyone to pay attention to how they feel whenever they eat, and change what they’re eating accordingly. It sounds like you personally don’t benefit from eating a bedtime snack (like you said, “I’ve experienced first hand”), but we have thousands of clients who HAVE implemented our bedtime snack suggestion and have lost weight AND sleep better. Not everyone’s biochemistry is the same. Without knowing exactly what you ate the night you woke up at 2am, it’s hard to say why that could have happened. We do NOT encourage eating a giant meal before bed…we don’t encourage eating protein before bed either. Protein does, like you said, give you increased energy and can interfere with sleep. That being said, food not only gives you energy, but the RIGHT foods (healthy fat and vegetable/fruit carbohydrates) balance your blood sugar, which is what we’ve found to be the issue with most clients struggling with restless sleep (as well as weight issues—it’s all about blood sugar!). When blood sugar crashes, you wake up. Eating a SMALL amount (certainly not “piling food on top of more food”) of carbohydrate to raise blood sugars and a small amount of fat to keep blood sugars from dropping sharply prevents that middle-of-the-night crash.

      It’s possible that intermittent fasting has helped you, and that’s great that you’ve found what works in your particular case. However, we’ve found our clients to have greater success by supporting their metabolism and not restricting food, which is precisely what intermittent fasting is. We’d never encourage skipping breakfast or any meal or snack for that matter. The article you linked to even says “However, once [insulin] resistance is resolved and you are no longer overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or are taking a statin drug you don’t need to do [intermittent fasting] and would only benefit from doing it occasionally.” (Although we generally wouldn’t recommend it at all, it would depend on the client and their individual case—as was mentioned earlier, everyone’s biochemistry and background is different, and this is why we recommend one-on-one appointments!) It’s also important to realize that looking healthy on the outside does not necessarily mean that person is healthy on the inside.

      The author of this article is Dietitian Cassie. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, the founder and CEO of Healthy Simple Life, and has helped thousands of clients lose weight, sleep better, and feel their best. You can read her whole bio here: http://www.dietitiancassie.com/about/

      • Jasmine Leigh

        I used to never eat after 7pm and wouldn’t have my first meal again until around noon. I struggled with weight gain and poor sleep the entire time. I naturally started eating a bedtime snack, then started making sure to eat on waking. I started to feel wonderful and now I’m dropping weight. I’m sure everyone is different, but fasting that long did NOT work for me and was actually making me very unhealthy. Also? My mental clarity and feeling of happiness has never been so great. I’m sticking with my bedtime snack and breakfast 🙂

        • Kateathealthysimplelife

          That’s fantastic, Jasmine Leigh! Way to listen to your body and fuel it with what it needs to work its best. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

          • Tamara Chloé

            I always eat a banana before bed and I sleep really sound on it. When I don’t eat a snack, I sleep really light, toss and turn or sometimes I would get sleep paralysis. Not when I eat my banana! I have done this for years. I was always confused to why people said it would make you fat. I would always feel bad about it, but couldn’t help this habbit, becasue it made me sleep so well. Thanks so much for this article. I feel much better about my bed time snack now!

          • Kateathealthysimplelife

            That’s great, Tamara Chloé! Eating a bedtime snack isn’t a bad habit to have at at all, as you now know! Isn’t it wonderful finding what works for you? The only thing we’d recommend is adding a Tablespoon or so of healthy fat to that bedtime snack to help keep your blood sugar stable while you sleep. Unstable blood sugars may not wake you, but they can have other effects on your body (such as internal inflammation). If you’re content wth that banana, keep it up! You’ve got to do what’s best for you!

          • Tamara Chloé

            Ohh, I did not know. Thanks so much! I will add a spoon of nut butter to it!

          • Kateathealthysimplelife

            Try it for a few weeks and let us know how it goes!

          • Tamara Chloé

            Oh yeah, will do Kate! Thanks dear xx

      • Magda Cabrera

        Excellent response.

  • Hetastic Bro

    Wow, this really surprised me. Who knew eating before bed was actually healthy!!

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Eating a combination of healthy fat and fruit/ veggie carbs is definitely healthy! (Not eating just anything ;))

  • CoolUserName

    I eat a protein bar before bed and it seriously helps.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      That’s great that you’ve found what works for you! Everyone’s body is different and learning to listen to what it needs to work its best is so important.

  • Elaine

    gave up soda lost about 2 pounds, started exercising lost about 5 pounds, started fasting about 4 pm till morning always going to bed a little hungry lost 20 pounds and counting…..the many small meals and bedtime snack doesn’t work for me

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Thanks for the comment, Elaine! Congratulations on giving up soda—that’s a huge accomplishment! It’s great that you’ve found what works for you.

  • Laura S.

    I want to gain weight as healthy and quickly as I can, so should I eat before bed/after dinner/late at night?

  • karim

    i just wanted to ask should we avoid eating large portions before bedtime to avoid weight gain as the body doesnt burn enough calories while sleeping is that true??

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Thank you for the question, karim! We’re less concerned with the number of calories in your bedtime snack and more concerned with what that snack will do to your blood sugar. Half an apple or a few celery sticks with a couple tablespoons of nut butter will help keep your blood sugar stable all night long. Only a small serving of vegetable or fruit carbohydrates and a tablespoon or two of healthy fat is all you need! We don’t want your body to have to digest a large meal before bed and while you’re sleeping, so keeping that snack small and balanced will benefit you the most.

  • Joshua Lawrence

    Or u can eat what you have, if you don’t want to spend $12 on a snack

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      If you already have fruit or vegetables on hand and some nut butter or cheese (all basic real food kitchen staples), no need to spend any additional money to put a bedtime snack together!

  • Foullily

    I always eat cheese before going to bed as I’ve heard it helps induce vivid dreams, which so far it has done majority of the time, but I didnt know it was actually helpful to eat snacks before bed xP good to know, I was always told not to eat, though I dont remember why

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Full fat cheese is a great option, Foullily! Have a small handful of berries with it and your blood sugar will stay balanced all night long.

  • Daffny

    Can I have a bowl of yogurt before bed time?

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Daffny! You could try full fat, plain yogurt before bed with some fruit mixed in (for your carbohydrate) and see how your body responds. For some, there may be too much protein in yogurt that can keep them awake at night, and for others, the protein may not affect their sleep at all. The most important thing is to make sure the yogurt is plain (not even vanilla!) so it doesn’t have any added flavors (chemicals), sugar or sugar alcohols (which most low-fat and fat-free yogurts have), and full fat to help balance your blood sugar!

      • Daffny

        Perfect!! Thank you so much! What about mixing some granola? Good or bad idea?

        • Kateathealthysimplelife

          We recommend vegetables and fruits as your main carbohydrate sources. Granola often has a TON of sneaky added sugar in it (check the grams of carbohydrates it contains and divide that number by four to get how many teaspoons of sugar a serving turns into in your blood stream!), so depending on what your goals are, you may want to avoid it. Homemade granola containing mostly nuts and seeds would be a great option, but make sure you’re still including some carbohydrates!

  • Kateathealthysimplelife

    It sounds like your goals may be very individualized and beyond the general recommendations outlined here. If you’re having difficulty sleeping or reaching those goals, one of our Dietitian Coaches would be glad to work with you! Learn more about our individualized coaching program here: https://www.healthysimplelife.com/nutrition-coaching-overview/

  • Kateathealthysimplelife

    It really depends on the person! Some may be affected by the slightest bit of caffeine, and some may not be affected at all.

  • Kateathealthysimplelife

    Hi Maria! Thats great that you’re losing weight by following a system that works for you! Most of our clients come to us because they haven’t had lasting results from restricting calories or counting points or anything like that. Sure, they may lose weight at first (as it sounds like you have), but after a while, they tire of having to count calories and restrict their food choices and all of the weight they lost comes back—often even more than they initially lost. Our recommendation of eating every 3-4 hours and sticking to real foods (specifically a balance of protein, healthy fats and vegetable and fruit carbohydrates every time you eat) has worked for thousands of our clients. They find this lifestyle change has lasting results and becomes second nature, so they never need to go back to counting calories again to lose weight as you have. You’re right—food is fuel and we have a plethora of different PFC balanced recipes in the Recipe Archive of our PFC Club. (https://www.healthysimplelife.com/pfc-club-membership/) that our clients love and enjoy immensely!

  • Kateathealthysimplelife

    Hello Layla! We’re not exactly sure where you’re coming from…we didn’t mention Dr. Mercola at all in this blog post!

  • DynamicButtscratch37

    I find that eating anything at all before bed causes me to be absolutely STARVING when I wake up. It also makes me wake up a lot to pee, so I get poor quality sleep.

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      What you eat before bed really impacts your sleep quality and we’ve found for almost all of our clients that having that fat and carbohydrate before bed helps sleep quality immensely. That being said, if you’ve tried having a bedtime snack (healthy fat and veggie or fruit carb) and it’s had these negative effects, then listen to your body and skip it!

  • Kateathealthysimplelife

    Thank you so much for your question, Tauqeer! It’s difficult to say whether or not the avocado milkshake should remain in your bedtime snack routine without knowing exactly what’s in it. The best way to put on weight is to continue to eat PFC balanced (quality protein, healthy fat and vegetable/fruit carbohydrates), but to add additional fat and carbohydrates to each meal and snack. You still want to eat real, unprocessed foods, just up the fat and carb intake a little.

  • Vagabond

    Ok, here is the point, eating banana, avocado, humus etc it is a good before sleep in small portion, like a light food. Eating a lot of sugar, sweet yogurt, anything witch contains a sugar in ingredients is a bad at all not only before bed and it will make you a fat during the night. So, it is good to eat something before bed, but just “enough”, not to much.

  • Lil T

    its true but not with junk food junk food packs on pounds day or night make sure its something nutrional… its 100 because i lost 10lbs in the last two weeks and had more energy when i wake up now.. and i sleep 10x better then staying up most the night or sleeping couple hours and waking up.. ill eat 20-30 mins before going to sleep other wise i toss and turn for hours before falling aslseep..:) so better beleive it!!! i been strugggling with my weight do to surgeries and my pcos and endro and this is the most i have lost since i had gained lots of weight. besides walkiing and doing slim in 6

    • Kateathealthysimplelife

      Hi Lil T! I’m so glad you’ve found the bedtime snack to be beneficial to you! Like you said, you just need to try it and see how it affects your body. 🙂

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