In today’s lesson we’re covering…
“Should I Snack On Fruits When I Am Up Late Or Not?”
For a more detailed answer see Ross’s written response below.
This is a great question, because it brings up an issue that causes problems for many people. That is, eating for fat/weight loss and eating to be healthy are not necessarily the same thing. Some eating behaviors are healthy and good for fat loss, but others can be good for health and bad for fat loss and vice-versa.
As usual, this question has different answers depending in the person and the situation. When it comes to eating healthy, fruits are foods you should eat regularly and there is no problem eating fruits when you are up late, unless you are eating a lot of calories. Eating too many calories late in the day is always a bad thing, regardless of how healthy the foods are.
However, when it comes to fat loss, things become a little tricky. Fruit is an interesting food, because fruits are high in nutrients, but the primary source of calories is sugar. More importantly, fruit contains a special sugar (fructose) that is different from other forms of sugar in terms of how it is used in your body.
The primary use of fructose is to replenish liver glycogen. Glycogen is a source of stored energy and usually when people refer to glycogen, they mean muscle glycogen. Muscle glycogen stores can be depleted through exercise and/or not eating carbs and muscles work best when glycogen stores are filled.
Replenishing muscle glycogen is a primary reason why people recommend eating carbs soon after a workout. Most types of carbs can easily replenish muscle glycogen stores, but fructose does not convert as easily as other carbs, so the body uses other carbs first. Fructose is the preferred choice for replenishing liver glycogen, but you don’t really need much of it.
When you are up late, your body has even less use for fructose, especially if you had fruit earlier in the day. Even though most fruits don’t have too many calories, if you body does not need those specific calories at that time, they can be converted into fat.
Action Step: If fat loss is your main goal, be careful with eating fruit, especially at night. You can have some fruit, but have it early in the day so your body has a better chance of using the calories. Late in the day focus more on small meals or snacks with quality protein and some complex carbs.
The impact of eating fruit on fat loss is different from person to person and some people can get away with eating fruit at night. Personally, I noticed that it is more difficult to lose fat when I eat significant amounts of fruit. The compromise I made is to limit myself to two servings of fruit per day and not eat any after 2pm to minimize potential negative effects.
By Ross Harrison
VFT “Awesome” Fitness Expert