Are Nighttime Feedings Good or Bad?

There has been a stigma regarding eating past a certain time at night. Most notably you might hear online nutrition gurus tell you that you shouldn’t eat after dinner or past “arbitrary timestamp” because you will be going to bed soon. This has been the presumption as an effective method to lose weight but there is always more than one factor. Who is eating these meals? What are their activity levels during the day? Most importantly, exactly what foods are being consumed before bed?

Negative Consequences of Nighttime Eating

Granted there can be negative effects on nighttime eating but we have to look at everything in context. Most of the studies conducted on night-time feedings that correlated in negative body composition outcomes usually focused on, night time shift workers or obese individuals with no exercise regimen. There have not been many studies on active and healthy individuals and the effects of pre-sleep feedings.

Night Time Recovery

When the same meals are consumed throughout the day, meal satiation, the thermic response, and gastric emptying time of food differ. The thermic response to food in some of these studies appeared to be lowest when consumed at night. Satiation levels seem to be lowest at night and that could lead to greater caloric intake, which can lead to an overall caloric surplus. The effect of Night Eating Syndrome (NES), consuming most calories at night, can cause adverse health effects.

People affected by NES tend to consume double the amount of carbs and proteins and four times the amount of fat in their meals. This is where the predisposition to weight gain and obesity comes in. NES is a precursor to obesity, not the cause, that is still the overall caloric consumption but NES seems to induce higher caloric intake. Not everyone with NES is obese, but one study found that the difference between non-obese NES and obese NES persons was that non-obese NES individuals were younger on average.

Don’t forget that lack of sleep, especially in the shift workers can play a huge role in our metabolism and appetite.

Positive Effects of Nighttime Eating

With an exercise regimen and a consistently healthy lifestyle, the effects of nighttime eating can change drastically. Food choices at night that lean towards a smaller, nutrient-dense, meal consisting of low energy foods or single macronutrients can actually alter health outcomes or body composition for the better.

In order to improve muscle protein synthesis, glycogen replenishment, the response of our natural anabolic hormones, we know that nutrients need to be consumed closer to our training, instead of waiting too long before or after to eat.

One study showed that after a full day of a standard diet, 16 recreationally active males participated in 45 minutes of resistance-type exercise at night. Right after the training, the participants were given the same post-workout beverage, 60g of carbs and 20g of whey protein. 30 minutes before bed and about 2.5 hours after exercise the participants were given either 40g of casein protein or a non-caloric placebo.

The casein group showed higher plasma essential amino acid levels, which showed that pre-sleep protein was effectively digested. This also resulted in higher whole-body and muscle protein synthesis rates, along with a net positive protein balance overnight. Casein protein has been looked at as the best pre-sleep protein supplement because it has a slow and sustained release.

The relevance of studies that show that nighttime eating is bad is based on specific populations that have disordered sleep and eating patterns without exercise. Exercise is the new medicine and in conjunction with proper dietary habits, nighttime feeds can elicit positive results. Recently more studies are showing that consuming smaller caloric and protein-rich beverages may improve overnight muscle protein synthesis, morning metabolism, and morning hunger levels.

Driven Casein™ and Pro-Fusion Seven™

Driven Casein™ and Pro-Fusion Seven™ are both super low calorie and protein-rich shakes that make great additions to your health and fitness goals. They are easy go-to night time snacks and can be used by themselves or in recipes. Both of these supplements will offer slow-digesting proteins that will positively affect your nighttime muscle protein synthesis rates.

Pro-Fusion Seven™ has a blend of seven powerful proteins that comes with extra amino acids to speed your recovery and kick-start new muscle growth. We’ve also added a healthy fat source, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) Oil, and digestive enzymes for maximum protein absorption

Driven Casein™ is designed to feed muscles during extended periods of time without food, such as between meals and overnight. Derived from milk, casein provides a gradual release of amino acids. Micellar Casein is a more sophisticated (and the slowest absorbing) form of Casein made from all five milk proteins. These proteins tend to cluster in your stomach and take longer for your body to digest. This results in slower absorption, an even more gradual release of amino acids, and the preservation of existing muscle tissue.

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