Myth 9: Eating late can cause weight gain
Why it's false: "Adelle Davis, a popular nutritionist in the '60s and '70s started this when she said to 'Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper,'" says Dr. Peeke. "But weight gain caused by eating late is a complex issue that's not wholly false or true." Mouse studies first noted that those consuming food in the evening gained twice the amount of weight as those that ate the same number of calories during the day. Other studies have noted no difference in weight changes regardless of time of day consumed.
"Science and reality are conflicted here. Although some science says that there is no difference, in reality, there are many factors that make late-night eating a real problem," says Dr. Peeke. "The catch is that when people eat later, they often tend to eat more mindlessly as they’re tired and not vigilant." Eating later can affect appetite in the morning, so that you don’t feel like eating. "This dysregulates grehlin, the hunger hormone, and leptin, the appetite hormone," she says. "When they are not functioning optimally, appetite is off and people tend to overeat."
Finally, science has shown that people who tend to be larks, or early-morning types, have a much easier time controlling their weight, as opposed to owls, who are up all night and have a greater propensity to raid the fridge. Lesson learned: While science says otherwise, it's a good idea to eat early and skip the late-night snacks.