Don’t eat after 7pm—Diet myth #1 with Shelley Rael, MS, RD, LD

Photo courtesy of Antonio B. Rael Photography

Photo courtesy of Antonio B. Rael Photography

Don’t eat after 7pm—diet myth #1

Shelley Rael, private practice dietitian in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I were in Philadelphia at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Food and Nutrition Conference talking about diet myths—myths about eating. (To watch the video, scroll to the bottom or click here.)


Neily:Shelley, tell me—what is our myth #1 going to be?
Shelley:The first one I hear most often is not eating after 7 o’clock at night. Or 8 o’clock or 5 o’clock. Or whatever the latest celebrity said they stopped eating…But this belief that you have to stop eating after a certain time of day may be based on whatever (popular) book or website (you’ve read).
Shelley:What I tell people about that is….and the common example I use is 2000 calories (for the average individual to maintain). So let’s say we need 2000 calories a day and we have eaten 1800 by 7 o’clock at night. Even if you have another 100 or 200 calories after that we are not going to gain weight because that is the amount of calories we need (if that is your need).However, if we eat 3000 calories by 4 o’clock in the afternoon, you’re going to gain weight no matter what happens after that.It’s not to do with what time of day it is. Your body generally has a sense of night and day but it doesn’t know you might have traveled three time zones. It’s not freaking out because our bodies cannot tell time when it comes to that.
Shelley:I often say what happens too is if we’re not eating regularly throughout the day. Or a lot of people skip breakfast or whatever—they eat most of their calories in the evening and they are so hungry they tend to overeat.Where if we spread it out throughout the day…and I give a general guideline of 4 hours but that’s not a hard and fast rule…just something I like to pick, so I’m not overeating later. We walk through the door and I often talk about the two dinners – the one you have when you still have your coat on and the mail in your hand and the other one we make for the rest of our family or ourselves….
Neily:And then you sit down in front of the TV and eat…
Shelley:Yeah yeah. So the calories add up in the evening but it has nothing to do with what the clock says.
Neily:Alrighty. So, it’s okay to eat in the evening so long as it is within your calorie budget.Thanks Shelley! This is Neily on Nutrition and we’ll see you in the next video.

Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Wellcoach® Certified Health Coach


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