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Is it okay to eat a meal nearby when I go to bed?




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THE QUESTION:

I have a busy schedule and do not have to force myself until late at night. Is it okay to eat a meal nearby when I go to bed?

THE ANSWER:

You have definitely heard that eating too close to bed is a sure-fire way to keep your weight low. Although it sounds like a logical rule, the timing of your meal does not necessarily have to be the key, but what you eat. A study from the British Journal of Nutrition of 201

4 found that consuming 30 grams of whey or casein protein at 30 minutes before going to bed requires the energy (or the amount of calories the body needs as it takes) is inactive) may increase the next morning. Another study from Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise showed that dropping 40 grams of casein stimulated muscle protein synthesis during sleep 31/2 hours after training, but also 30 minutes before bedtime.

Hungry for another one? A 12-week Maastricht University, The Netherlands, 2015 showed that subjects who consumed 28 grams of protein plus 15 grams of carbohydrate per night at bedtime were stronger and larger than the placebo group.

The body uses carbohydrates to replenish glucose and glycogen stores energy and protein helps boost metabolism and repair muscles – so it's good to consume small amounts of carbs and protein before hitting the sack. Just stay with lean protein and healthy complex carbohydrates like quark or Greek yogurt with some fruit, protein powder with milk and whole grains or a peanut butter sandwich on sprouted bread.

About the RD

Jim White, RD, ACSM, is spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios in Virginia.

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