Does eating at night make you fat?

Alexandra Johnstone, Peter Morgan

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Some media reports say that eating at night makes you gain weight, others say that it has no effect on body weight. So who is right?

First, it’s important to remember that a gain in body weight only occurs when there is a change in calories consumed or calories burned. A calorie is a calorie, but there are conditions where food calories could influence your tendency to gain weight or lose it. For example, it is known that different foods have a different ability to make you feel full, which can influence your food choices later in the day and ultimately influence your total calorie intake.

If you feel full, you are less likely to snack. High protein meals for breakfast have been shown to reduce food cravings and help reduce snacking later in the day. A high protein meal kick-starts a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates feelings of reward. The reward response is an important part of eating because it helps to regulate how much food you eat.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Alex Johnstone receives funding from the Medical Research Council, The University of Aberdeen, The Scottish Government, Biological Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, National Health Service Endowments award, Tennovus Charity, Chief Scientist Office and European Community.

Peter Morgan receives funding from Scottish Government and the Medical Research Council. In the past he has received funding from the BBSRC as well as from the pharmaceutical industry.


  • Diet
  • Obesity
  • Nutrition
  • Overweight
  • Is it true?


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