A lot of old school bodybuilders buy into the idea of “night catabolism,” or losing muscle mass while you sleep. Unless you want your liver to work overtime on digestion instead of resting and regenerating, late night snacking can sabotage your results more than improve your gains. Easily digested, high quality foods are the best for pre-bedtime snacks.
Most people consume half their daily calories close to bedtime. Blame it on a stressful day, which often leads to binge eating and bad food choices near bedtime. According to a study in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, this can increase your blood sugar levels for a full 24 hours and create a binge-eating roller coaster the following day.
But does meal timing have such an impact?
It seems like it could. A study published in 2016 found that among 80 overweight women, those who ate half of their daily calories before lunch lost 25% more weight than participants who ate them at dinner.
It all comes down to better food choices. Research supports the “if it fits your macros” model when choosing snacks, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Some livers need the rest for regeneration while others will work fine with late snacks. At the end of the day (pun intended), light snacks are okay, but monitor how your body responds and adjust or get rid of them as you see fit.