Eating dinner to your body clock could help you stay lean

You might have heard that you shouldn’t eat after 7pm to help manage your weight, or that eating 1-2 hours before your bed time is a big no-no. It turns out that this advice isn’t entirely incorrect, but it can be fine-tuned: new research shows that you shouldn’t eat within 2 hours of your normal bed time, even if you’re planning on staying up later than normal.

It all comes down to when your biological clock kicks in, explains the study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. About 2 hours before your bed time your body starts to produce melatonin to help you sleep. The study found that participants who ate close to or during this time had a higher percentage of body fat.

They found no relation between body fat and when (in terms of the clock hour) participants ate, nor how much or what kind of food they ate, their activity level or sleep duration.

As a small observational study it rings true to what the fitness world has preached for a long time: that eating too close to sleeping doesn’t benefit your body.

And with regards to a midnight fridge raid: “This would also be a time when melatonin is high and your body clock is promoting sleep and fasting,” said Dr Andrew McHill, “so we would consider that a time that food consumption could lead to higher body fat if done repeatedly over a long period of time.”