0

How Late Is Too Late to Eat Dinner? A Dietitian Weighs In

Between working long hours and managing general life admin, it can be easy to forget about dinner until well after 7pm. All of a sudden, it’s nearing bedtime and the sound of your stomach grumbling could be mistaken for a low-flying plane. But is eating dinner late at night really as bad as it’s made out to be?

We've looked at how the timing of our meals can affect our health and metabolism before, but dinner is the one meal most people are particularly curious about. 

According to a new study, the time you eat might be pretty important. Eating a late dinner can contribute to weight gain and high blood sugar.

Is eating late at night bad?

Researchers studied 20 healthy volunteers (10 men and 10 women) to see how they metabolised dinner eaten at 10pm compared to 6pm. The participants ate the exact same meal and all went to bed at 11pm. 

Participants wore activity trackers, had blood sampling every hour while staying in a lab, underwent sleep studies and body fat scans, and ate food that contained non-radioactive labels so that the rate of fat burning (oxidation) could be determined. 

The researchers found that blood sugar levels were higher, and the amount of ingested fat burned was lower, in those who consumed a later dinner. On average, the peak glucose level after late dinner was about 18 percent higher, and the amount of fat burned overnight decreased by about 10 percent, compared to eating an earlier dinner.

⁠What does this mean?

Clearly this isn't to say that if you need to eat dinner later due to work/training/life that you will gain weight. This study is nowhere near big enough (20 is a very small sample size), and weight gain is about way more than just the time you’re chowing down.

However, it is an interesting piece of research, and it’s something to keep in mind when looking at your lifestyle and routine.

What is the latest time to eat dinner?

If you can, aim to eat dinner at least a couple of hours before going to bed, as this will give your body more time to digest. Remember to load your plate with plants as the nutrients from these foods are extremely beneficial for our health

Eat slowly and mindfully when you do sit down to enjoy your meal (whatever that time may be) as this helps to reduce overeating and increases satisfaction from your meals.

And most importantly, don’t stress! If you eat your dinner late this does not automatically mean you will put on weight, especially if you only do so occasionally. You should not be worried or skip this meal if you feel it is too close to bedtime – it is always more important to get the energy and nutrients your body needs to function properly.

Explore more content like this in our series, Ask a Dietitian

Health & Performance Collective is the brainchild of Sydney Dietitians Jessica Spendlove and Chloe McLeod. They use their 20 years of combined knowledge and skills as dietitians to work with motivated people to live and perform at their best.

Need some dinner inspo? Here are 6 healthy and satisfying dietitian-approved dinner ideas.

 

Liquid error (templates/article line 123): Error in tag 'section' - 'featured-collection-sheet-set' is not a valid section type

Welcome to Bed Threads

It looks like you’re in the United States. Enjoy…

  • Free shipping US-wide
  • Easy returns
  • Plus, subscribe for $15 off your first order

Your Order (0)

Free Standard Shipping
Your cart is currently empty.
Not sure where to start?

You May Also Like

  •  

     
    0 out of 5, from reviews
  •  

     
    0 out of 5, from reviews
  •  

     
    0 out of 5, from reviews
  •  

     
    0 out of 5, from reviews
  •  

     
    0 out of 5, from reviews
  • Giftnote Gifting has never been easier Perfect if you’re short on time or are unable to deliver your gift yourself. Simply enter your message and select how it is to be delivered:
    Send Now
    Send Later
    On Delivery
    Your message will be automatically delivered to your recipient as per the schedule you have chosen! By sending this gift, you agree to Giftnote's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and agree to receive notifications with gift updates.
    Giftnote Add your gift message

    Enter who the gift is for

    Enter who the gift is from

    Enter a gift message

    Select at least one option

    Invalid email address

    Invalid phone number

    Select a delivery method

    Your gift message will be sent as soon as you complete your purchase
    Your gift message will be sent at the date and time of your choosing

    Select a date in the future

    Select a time in the future

    Your gift message will be sent when your order is marked as delivered by your courier. Note: Only available for physical products
    By sending this gift, you agree to Giftnote's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and agree to receive notifications with gift updates.
    Giftnote Gift message summary
    Who is this gift for?
    Loading...
    Who is it from?
    Loading...
    Your message
    Loading...
    Delivery Schedule
    Send Now
    Your gift message will be sent as soon as you complete your purchase
    Send Later
    Your gift message will be sent at the following date and time

    Time
    Loading...
    Date
    Loading...
    Timezone
    Loading...
    On Delivery
    Your gift message will be sent when your order is marked as delivered by your courier

    Remember to enter your recipients shipping address during checkout!
    Delivery Method
    Email & SMS SMS Only Email Only
    Recipient's Phone Number
    Loading...
    Recipient's Email Address
    Loading...
    By sending this gift, you agree to Giftnote's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and agree to receive notifications with gift updates.