The One Food You Should Never, Ever Eat at Night (or Risk Gaining Weight)

Updated: Nov. 09, 2020

Some late night snacks are better than others. This is what to avoid at all costs—and what you can munch on guilt free.

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Research shows that eating late at night can make you gain weight, but if your tummy starts rumbling after the sun goes down, you shouldn’t ignore it either. Going to bed hungry could keep you tossing and turning and cause you to binge eat later on. (Find out what else happens when you go to bed hungry.) Experts don’t necessarily advise filling up on an entire meal before you hit the hay, but it’s OK to nibble on a small snack.

Although not all foods are off limits in the evenings, you should definitely stay away from one in particular. And chances are, it’s so convenient and yummy that you’re already munching on it after 8 p.m.

That no-no nibble? A bowl of sugary cereal. It certainly does a great job of relieving the midnight munchies, but most commercial brands are loaded with refined sugars and fructose corn syrup. Just a few cups’ worth can send your blood sugar soaring and then crashing down as you snooze. Not only does that cause a less restful night’s sleep, but you’ll also wake up feeling ravenous—making you more inclined to scarf down anything in sight before you head out the door. And if this becomes a habit, it can take a serious toll on your waistline.

Not all cereals are created equal, though. So for those who absolutely must have this breakfast staple at night, read the labels carefully and choose brands that contain whole grains and fiber. And keep your portions small, or risk your diet going out the window the next morning.

Other good picks to curb the late night munchies include high protein, low-fat and carb snacks like Greek yogurt. Throw in a handful of berries or a teaspoon of natural honey if you’re craving a sweeter fix. Chowing on this one food at night could help you burn fat in your sleep, too. And when you wake up in the morning, opt for the perfect breakfast to keep you burning calories all day long.