LATE NIGHT EATING FOR MUSCLE GROWTH & FAT LOSSIf you ever get hungry late in the evening, but are worried about eating anything because the conventional wisdom is that it will pack fat onto your body, then worry no more.
It is true that eating starchy carbs and sugars in the later part of the day will pack on the pounds. This is because these foods produce a strong insulin response. Insulin is a storage hormone, so those calories will VERY likely be stored as fat as you are winding down your day. AVOID THESE AT NIGHT.
On the other hand, there are some great, delicious foods that you can eat to stave off hunger and feed your lean (muscle) tissue throughout the night. Some of them will actually help you burn MORE fat, EVEN WHILE YOU SLEEP. Good news!
#1 Green Vegetables
If you get hungry after dinner time, you can fill up on a few vegetables without effecting much of an insulin release. Green vegetables, especially the leafy ones, have very few calories and a ton of fiber and water.
I recommend snacking on a cup or two of kale, arugula and green beans with just a drizzle of good olive oil. This is very filling and will kill any late-night cravings you might have.
#2 Cottage Cheese or Yogurt
Both are good choices containing slow-digesting proteins which will aid in recovery from your workouts. Eating these will also release Glucagon, your fat-release hormone, which will help your body to burn more fat late into the night. Cottage cheese is also known to coat the stomach, aiding with digestion and improving sleep quality.
Just be sure to choose plain varieties with no sugar (or VERY low sugar). And wherever possible try to buy your dairy organic. You don't want to get your milk products from stressed-out cows (cortisol from stress is a fat-storage hormone). Nor do you want the antibiotics injected into factory-raised animals to keep them alive under horrible conditions.
#3 Chicken or Turkey Breasts
The protein in these is released very slowly and can nourish your muscles and aid in exercise recovery for many hours.
These, too, have the effect of releasing Glucagon, helping your body to utilize blood sugar and stored fat for energy. Definitely a win-win situation.
#4 Protein Shakes
If you're feeling hungry after dinner time but don't really feel like eating a meal or snack, a protein shake is a great substitute. They can keep you feeling full for hours, making it easier to sleep. The best protein powders will contain both Whey and Casein proteins.
I generally mix the powder in the blender with six ice cubes, a tablespoon of peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of organic, no-sugar yogurt. Delicious. And helps the body to recover and burn more fat while you sleep.
EAT MORE, LOSE MORE FAT
Have you ever been on a diet?
If you are like most people, you've probably been on many.
What was the biggest problem with the diets you have been on?
For a lot of people, the number one problem is HUNGER. When you are hungry, you need to eat, but doing so could wreck your diet. It's a catch-22. But there are ways around it.
One of the best tricks for being satiated when you are trying to stay within your calorie limits involves a concept called caloric density.
Let me explain. Some food are very calorie dense, so that there are a ton of calories in just a small amount of the food. Others, conversely, have a very low caloric density and you can eat LOT without getting too many calories.
For example, a cup of pasta has 390 calories and one slice of bread has 185 calories. If you eat a lot of these types of calorie dense foods, you will end up eating too many calories and you will gain weight. On the other hand, foods like spinach (7 calories per cup), kale (33 calories per cup) and tomatoes (16 calories, whole tomato) have very low numbers of calories per volume. And volume is what makes you feel satiated so that you don't eat too much. You literally could not eat enough spinach to equal the the 390 calories in just a cup of pasta - unless you think you could eat 55 cups of spinach in one sitting.
Eating vegetables (especially leafy and green ones), fruits (especially berries), many legumes, seeds and lean proteins and dairy will allow you to eat until you are full without getting excess calories.
Another great thing about many of the foods with low caloric density is that they are also very high in fiber, which is not digested, so one can basically subtract those calories from the total.
Replacing just a few of the high calorie density foods with a few lower density choices may be all you need to start losing weight, especially the excess belly fat that so many people have.
Greg Rothman, MS PT, is a fitness professional, writer and the owner of Empower Fitness in NYC. He received his Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University and has twenty years of experience in the fitness and rehabilitation fields. He believes that absolutely anyone can have the body of their dreams once they understand how to eat and exercise in a way that supports their goals. It is his mission to Empower as many people as possible to do just that. His “Recession-Proof” Fitness Programs are an affordable way to find dramatic physical change over the course of 10 weeks. Greg is happy to hear from you if you have questions about any topic related to fitness or nutrition, and can be found at www.GetEmpoweredFitness.com.