One of the most common misconceptions in the weight loss realm is that eating at night makes you pack on the pounds. Because of this myth, many people have made 6 or 7 p.m. their eating cut-off time, regardless if they’ve had time to eat a healthy dinner. However, there is good news. Eating at night isn’t as bad as some nutritionists, websites, and other “experts” may have thought. If you’ve ever been hungry at night because you work long hours and feared weight gain, here are four reasons why eating at night isn’t detrimental to health or weight loss.

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The Carbohydrate Benefit

The Atkins diet and macros diet both aim to keep carbohydrates under control, opting for fats and proteins as a way to help you shed the pounds. While lowering your carb intake is ideal for weight loss, eating carbs at night has some surprising benefits you may not know about.

Eating carbs at night or for a late dinner, also known as carb backloading, is a proven method to help control hunger during the day. According to a recent study, researchers tested two groups: one spread carbs throughout meals during the day, and the other group ate most of them at night. The sample group that devoured carbs at night experienced hormonal changes that helped them control hunger the next day, proving that a pasta feast at night is actually beneficial.

It Doesn’t Affect Your Calorie Counter

To say that eating after dark is a surefire path to weight gain is a bit asinine, especially when you consider that not everyone has the same schedule. For people who work graveyard shifts, eating at night is the only option, and doing so isn’t going to ruin their metabolism or weight loss goals.

The idea is that weight loss directly corresponds to how many calories you consume. Eating calories at night shouldn’t adversely affect this just because of the time. The body centers around a 24-hour clock, and not everyone’s is the same. Instead of worrying about when you consume calories, think more about your calorie intake. With our calories per day calculator, you can stay within your calorie budget while finding the perfect diet that works for you.

You Can Build Muscle

Protein is the building block for muscle, so it’s no surprise that athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness gurus stick to protein as their main source of calories. Not only does it make you leaner, but you’ll also feel fuller for longer. When you eat it at night, you get even more benefits.

According to a study featured in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, eating protein-heavy meals right before bed helped build muscle while you sleep while also helping to repair muscle fibers stretched or damaged during exercise.

You Still Digest Food

The myth that your metabolism stops or that you don’t digest food when you’re sleeping is 100 percent false. Experts say that your nighttime metabolic rate is equal to when you’re awake. That means you don’t have to worry about a lack of digestion or added weight when you dine before you hit the sack.

Late-night eating isn’t terrible for you, it’s more dependent on what you eat. If you can stay on a healthy diet and avoid temptation, go ahead and quell your hunger.

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