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Eating right before bed will not make you gain weight, study suggests

Do you avoid eating a meal right before bed to maintain your health? You may not need to do that, according to a new report. 

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Researchers from the Graduate School of Health Sciences at Okayama University in Japan recently conducted a study, published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health, to explore whether leaving a two-hour gap between the last meal of the day and bedtime increases your blood glucose level. High blood glucose is associated with weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. 

For the assessment, the team examined 1,573 healthy middle-aged and older adults from western Japan. They then assessed the subjects’ diets as well as other lifestyle factors such as their physical activity; weight; and smoking and drinking habits. 

The scientists also monitored the participants’ HbA1c levels, which indicates the blood glucose levels of individuals over the long-term.

After analyzing the results, they found HbA1c levels did not change significantly over the course of the three-year study. In fact, the numbers remained normal. 

Furthermore, they also could not attribute the slight rise to eating before bed. 

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“Weight, blood pressure, blood fats, physical activity levels, smoking and drinking seemed to be more strongly associated with changes in HbA1c levels rather than the interval between eating and sleeping,” the authors wrote in a statement.

The analysts did acknowledge their trial was observational. Therefore, they could not establish causation. They also noted Japanese cuisine includes lots of vegetables and small portions, which may be different from other nations. 

Despite the limitations, they do believe their findings are significant. They concluded that “more attention should be paid to healthy portions and food components, getting adequate sleep and avoiding smoking, alcohol consumption, and overweight, as these variables had a more profound influence on the metabolic process.

» RELATED: When we eat, or don't eat, may be critical for health 

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