Don’t eat at bedtime


By Dr. Mercola

While there are many potential factors1 contributing to unsuccessful weight loss, if you’re struggling with excess weight then when you eat may be just as important as what you eat.

In over 30 years of clinical practice, intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways to shed excess weight I have ever seen. This is for two reasons:

  • It helps improve your insulin and leptin sensitivity
  • It “resets” your body to more effectively burn fat for fuel

Eating too close to bedtime is another meal-timing factor that can have serious health consequences.

There’s compelling evidence showing that when you supply fuel to your mitochondria at a time when they don’t need it, they leak a large number of electrons that liberate reactive oxygen species as free radicals.

These free radicals damage your mitochondrial and eventually nuclear DNA.  There’s also evidence indicating that cancer cells uniformly have damaged mitochondria, so the last thing you want to do is eat right before bedtime.

Personally I strive for six hours of fasting before bedtime, but at bare minimum, avoid eating at least three hours before going to bed.

If you have serious adrenal challenges then you would likely need to resolve them before implementing intermittent fasting.

Also if your goal is to have large muscles, intermittent fasting would likely not be your best strategy. But personally I believe virtually eliminating your risk of cancer and living much longer is a far better choice for most of us.


4 Responses to “Don’t eat at bedtime”

  1. Aldous says:

    I mostly have to eat at bedtime. I can’t ever resist what’s on the menu. Yummy.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Now, the Spanish, at least the urban folk, tend to eat very late, 9-10pm. Although usually their working day starts and ends late too. But given Dr Mercola’s theory, the Spanish ought to have higher incidence of cancers – even accounting for red wine, fresh vegetables, plenty of fish oils, plenty of sunshine, ‘manana’ attitude to life stresses…. Yet do they?
    Most mammals tend to sleep immediately after they have eaten their main meal – or at least all the cats and dogs I have ever known have (and men).

  3. Lynn says:

    Well said Jennifer. The Mediterranean diet was renowned for longevity. I’ve never been overwieght and I eat late. It is the lack of, sunshine and minerals that are the health risks.

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