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[Newsletter] Late-night meals aren’t the cause of your weight gain

Walter Adamson
Nov 22, 2020 · 4 min read

Plus, why eating less protein can lead to weight gain

Photo by isaac . on Unsplash

My weekly three best insights from me, Medium and the web to help you live longer better.

Simply eating walnuts daily reduces chronic inflammation — research — see item #3.

Ever wondered why your best friend eats the same daily calories as you, does the same exercise, and yet you put on weight? Here’s one answer — item #2.

Eating late-night meals is fine — you won’t put on weight. It’s not the time you eat that matters but what you eat, keep reading —

From around Medium…

You’ve no doubt heard the advice that eating late-night meals leads to weight gain. This notion is “a given” among dieticians — if they are Anglo-Saxon.

If the advice were true then no one in Spain or South America would ever be able to lose weight. And those in the USA would be successful in losing weight (I don’t see many Americans going out for their main meal after 9 pm).

Guess what? The average weight of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean is 67.9 kg compared to 80.7 kilograms for North America.

What matters most is what you eat at all times, including late at night. What might matter is how much you eat at each meal — some studies show frequent small meals are less healthy. Other studies show that eating breakfast leads to weight loss, all other things being equal.

But those findings are reporting weight gain or loss differences that don’t really matter in the scheme of eating good food, at any time.

If you snack more on junk food at night, and too much of it, then you know the outcome. My post has five tips on how to avoid doing that.

My post: Six Out Of Seven Dieticians Can’t Answer This Question — Can You?

This Medium post caught my attention as I’ve seen contradictory explanations of the thermic effect of food. Addison Maille explains it in detail — Understanding the thermic effect of food.

The thermic effect of food (TEF) refers to the energy required to eat and digest that food. The TEF is calculated as a percentage of the total calories in a given meal that the body uses to metabolise the food.

Here’s what I found fascinating. Between 2 women, each eating 2,000 calories a day, one could be gaining weight and the other not simply because of the different nutrient balance of their meals.

A recommended nutrient balance (Harvard Health) is 20% protein, 30% fat, 50% carbs. If woman A ate 10% protein, and B ate 30% protein, then:

  1. B burns 80 calories extra daily just in digesting the protein;
  2. A gains an extra 40 to 80 calories from their carbs and fats, compared to B;
  3. Add in differences in TEF for the differences in quantities of fats and carbs and it is plausible that A has about 200 excess calories daily compared to B, just from their different mix of macronutrients.

Two hundred calories daily don't sound like much right? But it is. It is equivalent to a social spin class or a 4 to 5 km walk — daily.

If you don’t do that equivalent daily exercise to erase those calories then you will gain about 1kg per month.

People who are obese have a lowered TEF than do people at a healthy weight by about 45%.— Addison Maille.

What this means for us: Eating the same calories as someone else can still leave you with excess calories which can lead to weight gain. As you gain weight and head towards obesity the weight gain will accelerate due to a lowered total TEF.

The article: Understanding The Thermic Effect Of Food

Related: ​Diabetes — Why Timing Your Exercise After Meals Matters

👉 Here is my collection of posts about food which will also help you.

From the web …

A study of more than 600 older adults (60+) found that those who consumed walnuts had a significant reduction in inflammation. Inflammation hardens the arteries and is a principal cause of heart attacks and strokes.

One group consumed 30 to 60 grams of walnuts a day as part of their typical diet. Another group followed their standard diet (without walnuts). Each group was tracked for two years.

What this means for us: Chronic inflammation increases as we age, and it is a factor in how severely the coronavirus affects us, for example. Using a combination of ways to combat chronic inflammation is an important lifestyle strategy when older. This includes exercise, food and social life.

Walnuts are an easy addition. But remember that 50 grams — about 24 halves — contain about 320 calories. Don’t overindulge without compensating elsewhere.

The Article: Study Shows Older Adults Could Reduce Their Risk Of Heart Disease By Eating Walnuts

Related: Walnuts Daily Lower Heart Disease And Help You Sleep Better

Questions, just HIT REPLY, love to hear from you.

Wishing you a safe and active week,
Walter ⭑Keep Moving⭑ Adamson ⭑Top Food Writer

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