If you are struggling to shed some extra pounds and going to bed starving, this article may be the best thing you have ever read! For a really long time I have been told not to eat before going to bed, and while it is true that you should give yourself adequate time to digest prior to lying down- research has made it clear that your bedtime snack isn’t actually the love handle culprit. According to Dr. John Foreyt, “What matters are the total calories you take in.”
A calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree centigrade. We need this energy in all of the metabolic processes that keep us living, and your caloric need is based on this ‘resting energy expenditure’. To better understand where all of your food is going, the average North American’s daily energy expenditure breaks down to:
60%-75% calories used in ‘resting energy expenditure’
25% calories used in physical activity
10% calories used in digestion
Your age, height, weight, and gender all factor into your personal caloric need, and any additional calories on top of your individualized need are what contribute to weight gain. So you can see your jeans aren’t actually getting tighter because of that bowl of oatmeal before bed, but because of the bigger picture: when calorie intake is greater than expenditure. These extra calories are converted into triglycerides, aka the mother of all love handles.
While this intake vs. expediture principle is the basis for weight gain or loss, please don’t decide to famish your body all day so your calories allocated to a single hamburger and fried donut ! While weight-loss may be your goal, your overall health is of utmost importance, nourish your body accordingly. Be picky where get your calories from, after all- everything you ingest is fuel for your magnificent self! Make your meal choices based on the life you want. Choose carbohydrates that have a low glycemic load, which digest slowly, helping to keep blood sugar and insulin stable after the meal.
Be empowered, remind yourself that you have the power to prevent many chronic diseases every time you sit down to eat! If you want more information on weight loss and the best sources for nutrient dense calories, contact a Naturopathic Doctor or Registered Dietician to guide your journey to better health.
Until next time,
Brackett, S. (2014). Formula for Caloric Intake. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/178764-caloric-intake-formula/
Hubrich, B. (Moderator) & Foreyt, J. (Interviewee). (2012). Losing Weight and Weight Control [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from: http://www.caloriescount.com/(A(0IMHxYP-zgEkAAAAOTczMDU3OTktNDhmYS00NTljLTg2ZDAtYjY2ZWUwYmMyYzdk7oKylYtBn-EkbiVO5TxzMZ2rHxI1))/chat032803.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
Mooney, A. (2012, June 27). When a calorie is not just a calorie: Reducing refined carbs may help maintain weight loss better than reducing fat. Harvard Gazette. Retrieved from http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/06/when-a-calorie-is-not-just-a-calorie/
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Zieve, D., Eltz, D. (2009, August 24). Diet – Calories. The New York Times, Health Guide. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/nutrition/diet-calories/overview.html