I’ve heard you shouldn’t eat after 7pm, is that true?

This is a common myth, but it is indeed a myth. Setting a specific time to stop eating by really doesn’t make sense, as we all have different schedules.

Our bodies do best if we eat often during the day (ideally every 2-4 hours). This applies to evening time too – if you eat dinner at 5 or 6pm and stay awake until 11pm, that’s a long time to go without food. Our body processes food the same regardless of the time of day and while we are obviously less active when we sleep, we still need fuel for our brains and organs to function.

For optimal energy levels, concentration and focus, aim to spread your food evenly over your waking hours. Some people get so busy or stressed during the day that they don’t have much of an appetite or don’t take the time to eat. If you don’t eat enough during the day, you create a food debt. When you get home in the evening, can finally relax, and food is readily available, it’s common to get hit hard with intense hunger and cravings. It may even feel out of control as you may feel physically feel full, but still feel like snacking. Rather than feeling guilty about your evening food routine or aiming to limit your intake, instead try to make gradual changes to your daytime routine to make sure you are getting enough fuel and nutrients as a way to prevent evening cravings.

Spreading your food more evenly over the course of the day will help you feel and focus better. It can also help prevent indigestion and improve sleep. If you’ve been in the habit of eating most of your food during the evening hours, however, it can be really hard to make changes. 

Questions about your diet and nutrition needs? All University of Guelph students have access to Student Wellness Services nutrition services (free and fee-based options are available). Students can access these services in three ways: