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Myth Buster: The Later the Meal, the More Fattening the Food - AARP Bulletin Skip to content

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Myth Buster: The Later the Meal, the More Fattening the Food

Myth: Eating late causes more weight gain than earlier meals.

Facts: Those late-night munchies aren’t as fattening as was once thought, studies show. “A calorie is a calorie,” says Susan Yanovski, M.D., a director in the Obesity and Eating Disorders Program at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Eating it at night versus other times of the day doesn’t make a difference.”

Many people who chow down late, however, are consuming extra calories that they don’t really need. “Nighttime is a time when people do mindless eating because they are bored or tired,” says Yanovski.

Find another activity to substitute for nighttime eating, she suggests. “If you are stressed, take a bath; if you’re tired, go to bed.”

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