Most people have heard that eating before bed isn’t a great idea if you’re looking to lose weight. This fact has broken a few hearts, especially for those of us who love a tasty late night snack. Well, here’s some good news: hope is not lost.
Not every food that you eat past 7 PM will go straight to your hips. In fact, there are certain foods when eaten late at night that can actually help you lose weight. So what are these magical tasty treats, and how exactly does all this work?
First, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat. And that’s carbs. Carbohydrate consumption causes a significant rise in insulin (i.e. the storage hormone), which stops fat burning. In the late evening hours your metabolism is winding down, so an insulin spike is the last thing your body needs if you are looking to lose weight.
So what should you reach for instead? Slow-digesting, high-quality protein.
Slow-digesting proteins don’t cause an insulin spike, plus they provide your body with a steady flow of amino acids as they breakdown slowly throughout the night. Amino acids help you recover from exercise and maintain your calorie-burning lean muscle as you lose fat.
Now, ready for some prime snack options?
1. White Meat Protein (not red meat) – Chicken and turkey are great pre-bed meal choices because they digest slowly and have a very low insulin release. They also promote the release of another hormone, glucagon, that helps the body break down carbs and fat to be burned for energy. DO NOT have red meat. Red meat has a significantly higher insulin response.
2. Cottage Cheese – Cottage cheese is slow digesting and stimulates glucagon release. Just make sure you’re eating plain cottage cheese. Flavored varieties come with a lot of added sugars, which aren’t what you want at any time, but especially before bed.
3. Green Vegetables – Technically not a protein, but they contain virtually no calories, are high in fiber, and very filling. You can’t go wrong with a nice plate of fresh veggies.
4. A Protein Shake – Protein in a pretty pure form. If you’re having this before bed, make sure it’s slow-digesting protein and low in carbs. Many people even make having one of these before bed a nightly ritual. Just make sure you’re not having whey protein. Research has shown that it causes more of an insulin release than even white bread! Opt instead for a a time-released blend that includes a blend of slow-digesting, high-quality proteins.
Anyone else hungry, now?