Everyone knows the temptation to indulge in a midnight snack (or seven) can be totally overpowering, and it's hard to resist the late night siren call of salted caramel. Since time immemorial, or at least since scientists cared to measure this stuff, we've heard that eating after 8pm (before bed) is the express route to a bulging waistband -- but is that really true?
In the video above, the dry-erase wizards at Picture Fit explore the subject of pre-sleep chowing, and the truth is pretty fascinating. While you should definitely watch the whole video, here's the short answer: yes, there's a correlation between late night eating and weight gain, but the prevailing theories (your metabolism slows when you sleep, your insulin levels go up at night) aren't why.
All it really comes down to is the fact that, if you consume more calories than you burn, you're gonna gain weight -- it doesn't really matter when those calories are consumed. One thing helping to maintain the late night weight gain illusion, according to Picture Fit, is that when people snack before bed, it tends to be on less-healthy foods that would lead to weight gain regardless of the time they're consumed.
Now, does this mean you should feel free to indulge your sugary proclivities before lights-out? Probably not: while they might not lead to undue weight gain, some foods can still disrupt your sleep cycle if they're eaten before going to bed.
Bottom line is, exercise common sense when picking your midnight snack. Failing that, maybe just exercise.
Gianni Jaccoma is a staff writer for Thrillist, and he packed on 20lbs by regularly eating hot dogs and french fries at 2am. Follow his dramatic weight loss tweets @gjaccoma, and send your news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org