What is a good food to eat before bed?Tweet
Exercise causes damage to muscle tissue which the body heals during the recovery process. The recovery process is dependent on an adequate amount of rest and nutrients. A large part of this process happens during sleep, making good nighttime nutrition crucial in a quick and effective recovery.
Nighttime Energy Needs
The main argument against eating at night centers around the myth that the body does not need energy at night and stores anything you eat as fat. Though the body's metabolic rate decreases at night, the body still burns energy.
Exercise causes damage to muscle tissue which the body treats as an injury. Exercise breaks muscle tissue down while recovery builds muscle tissue up. The recovery process heals the muscle making it bigger and stronger. Much of the recovery process happens during sleep, increasing the body's need for energy. Ignoring nighttime nutrition leads to a longer recovery phase, slowing down your progress.
Slow Digesting Foods
The best option for nighttime meals are foods that digest slowly. Slow digestion helps your body better utilize the energy throughout the entire night rather than all at once. Good examples include complex carbs (100% whole wheat products, brown rice, beans, vegetables, legumes), lean proteins (chicken breast, eggs, low-fat dairy products - milk, cottage cheese, tuna, protein shakes that contain casein) and unsaturated fats (seafood, olive & canola oils, peanut butter, nuts, seeds).
Body Fat/Unwanted Weight Gain
Those who argue against eating late claim nighttime calories lead to unwanted weight gain. The truth is unwanted weight gain happens because of a calorie surplus; eating too much throughout the entire day. The relationship between how many calories you burn and how many you eat (known as calorie balance) controls weight; how many calories you eat is more important than when you eat your calories.
If you are trying to lose weight, you need to first figure out how many calories you burn each day. The calorie calculator can help you estimate your daily needs. Next, start counting your calories (MyFitnessPal). Ensure you eat less than you burn (by about 500-1,000 calories per day) and the weight will come off.
The Bottom Line
Eating the right foods before you go to sleep helps your body recover from muscle damage more efficiently. Eating at night does not lead to unwanted weight gain; eating too much throughout the day does.