How late can you eat?

Posted on February 23, 2012. Filed under: Nutrition, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |



Never eat after 8 pm.


Ever hear that rule?


It pops up every once in a while in some form or another. No eating after 6pm, no eating after 8pm, no eating right before bed. Always some rule about when you should eat or how late you are allowed to eat.


Funny thing, try as I might I can’t find any evidence to back up this idea, so where does this come from?


My theory is that some fitness training celeb diet doctor of some kind made a rule with a client not to eat after a certain time. They got results, and as is common in our industry the telephone game turned this into some standard or rule.


Now from a common sense stand point this makes sense in trying to curb a particular client’s behavior. Think about it


  1. The client is less likely to have any late night snacks which mess up their progress
  2. In order to abide by this rule the client must be aware of when they are eating. This means they now have to plan out their meal which keeps them on a more regular schedule
  3. With planning comes awareness. And awareness is huge. You’d be surprised how many people mindlessly eat, or snack on something just because it’s their. I’ve had clients lose as much as 5 lbs in the first month just from having them keep a food journal. I never told them to do anything. The moment they became conscious of their eating habits, and knew they had to show me the results. They changed them on their own.


Personally I never believed in that rule. Of course during my college years I worked as a graveyard shift janitor to help with money. When you start work at 9pm, some one saying you shouldn’t eat after 8, just sounds silly.


So yes you can eat late, early whatever you like.


Does it matter what you eat? Well, sort of.


The practice of having a protein shake before bed, has been a mainstay among many an aspiring bodybuilder for years (1). And there is the possibility it’ best to start your day with a higher protein intake, and eat your carbs later in the day (2). But for most people this is focusing on the minutia.


I often tell clients if you eat a plate of grilled salmon and broccoli, chances are it’s going to do you some good. If you eat a whole pint of Hagen Daaz in one sitting, 10am or 10pm, it’s not doing you any good.


Point is your overall eating habits well tell the tale. Not the time of day. Eat quality foods; drink plenty of water with occasional green tea if you like.


Some like to count calories, but I don’t. If you focus on the quality of food the calories take care of themselves. It would take to long to go into what I consider quality, so lets just l say I prefer my clients eat food in its natural state whenever possible. And if they eat things from off the shelf try to avoid foods with the following ingredients:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (or Corn Sugar)
  • Any ingredient ending in “ose”
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Words you can’t pronounce
  • Hydrogenated fats
  • Canola Oil (other processed oils)


Any one can feel free to argue this point with me. In my experience when clients stay away from these products and eat more ‘whole foods’ results come faster. Regardless of the time of day they are eating.  Now you know  🙂

Keep Fitness Groovy

Coach W


  1. Res, Peter T et al, Protein Ingestion Prior To Sleep Improves Post-Exercise Overnight Recovery, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,  9 February 2012
  2. Sofer S, et al, Greater Weight Loss & Hormonal Changes After 6 mo Diet with Carbohydrates Eaten Mostly at Dinner.  Obesity (Silver Spring), 2011 Apr 7

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4 Responses to “How late can you eat?”

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Terrific information!

Glad you liked it 🙂

Makes Sense! No Such Rule, read on

I see it this way, there are no rules. Only principles

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