Eating big meals at night will NOT turn you into a walrus

Eating big meals at night slogan

Eating big meals at night?

We’ve heard it all before: Eat like a king for breakfast, like a hungry girlfriend for lunch, and dinner like you were a hobo. I’m going to get straight to the point on eating big meals at night…you should have your biggest meal at night, after the days work, and smaller meals during the day.

That’s right, I’m going to arm you with why you should be eating the biggest meal at night, why it won’t get you fat, and why you shouldn’t be guilty with finally going on that dinner date with that girl/guy you like because, y’knw… “oh sorry darling/honey/apple of my eye/orange of my balls I can’t eat dinner with you because I have to eat this little tuna or something of equal size otherwise I’d get fat”.

So let’s dive right in to this so you can avoid that guy finding a girl less complicated (with the only complicated thing possibly being some new bra contraption), or that girl deciding to go on that dinner date with me instead of you and back to my place for whip cream and cherries…because, a man has got to eat.

Let’s start at the beginning: the theory as to why having a big meal at breakfast is best and why having big meals at night is bad


A marriage bra. Yes these things are real.

A lot of experts suggest that if we eat the biggest meal upon rising, the calories we ingest will be burned for whatever activity we do during the day, whether that be training, going to a concert and banging your head, or sitting in your room in front of your computer with tissues, lube, and a pie handy, etc.

With this in mind, it also means that we won’t be low on energy for the day in doing such activities, and eating the smallest meal at night will prevent the weight gain coming on, because it is believed, that since our energy expenditure during sleep is at it’s lowest.

It sounds logical doesn’t it? However, if you really do think about it, and you know even the basics of human physiology, it actually makes it illogical and I’ll explain now as to why.


Why eating eating like a kid in trouble and sent to bed without supper is the equivalent of me being a pirate king of England in space with a moustache

First, a little physiology to consider and note: some of you scientific nut-huggers might be a little mad at my nutshell but I know not everyone here has time for the A-Z with all 12 systems of the body.

You have something called a parasympathetic nervous system and a sympathetic nervous system. Parasympathetic being the system where your body is usually relaxed and the sympathetic nervous system where your body is producing that good adrenaline pumping through your veins so you can go forth kick ass and chew bubblegum at the gym, or in my case eating those metaphoric cherries and whip cream.

Anyway, when you eat a huge meal your body will be in the state of relaxation (parasympathetic), and this makes sense, because it needs to digest your food. Eat a big meal, and guess what happens? You’ll want to snooze, and this is a big reason for it. You can’t cheat your physiology. How about when you train? Have a small meal in the day, an hour or two before a workout and then workout. With your life and death struggle with the training, your sympathetic nervous system is the one that takes over. Of course, your body will not run optimally, and you won’t be as focused if you ate a big meal before that workout however. Don’t believe this? Next time, eat your biggest meal of the day before you train.

Evidence that eating like a king for dinner is not going to turn you into sleeping fatty when you wake up.Eating big meals at night makes you fat?

Let’s look a bit of this in practice, shall we?

A few people ate six meals a day or two large meals in the morning and evening. No difference was found with calorie expenditure HOWEVER!!!! They did find that energy expenditure between the hours of 11PM to 8AM was SIGNIFICANTLY higher on the two meal per day regime (the two meals, of course, being bigger meals than the 6 meals a day. That’s like having those 6 meals divided by two). (1)

Maybe, one or two were up having fun with cherries and cream at 11PM to 8AM, and being active, who knows, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that they found the whole group to have such a significant rise in caloric expenditure with that bigger meal at night.

Another study. This one had women in the overweight category that were aged 23-39. They were on a caloric restricted diet and had exercise. They had a period were one group ate 70% of their calories in the morning and the other group had their 70% at night (PM hours). The AM group had 35% of their intake for both breakfast and lunch, while the remaining being 15% at dinner and evening snack. The PM group  had 15% for breakfast and 15% for lunch, 35% dinner and 35% evening snack.

If you want to take this study a step further they had 60% carbs, 18% protein and 22% fat throughout the study.

Results? There was little difference in the overall amount of the WEIGHT lost, which was 3.9%  for AM and 3.27% for PM (2).

Now before you axe me with a “HA! This proves eating breakfast is superior for weight loss” a GREATER percentage of the weight lost on the PM group was from FAT compared to the AM group which was 2.5% VS. 1.83% respectively. (2)

This isn’t exactly magic however, as factors such replenishment of glycogen, or growth hormone spurts that takes somewhere in 1-2 hours after falling asleep as a result of greater evening protein intake can be likely causes (meaning better sleep means better GAIINNNNZZZZZZ). However we can take from this that if eating this way helps us fall asleep easier, then that means it can only help improve our results!

Weight loss and gain aside, what about all the other claims such as concentration and energy for the day?

Big meals and concentration

With already discussing that our body is focused on digestion with large meals, if one were to eat a large carbohydrate meal during the day, the elevated blood levels of tryptophan, a neurotransimtter that makes you sleepy, is not a good idea if you need to be focusing all live-long day. If you want to know more about carbohydrate consumption at night time and day check out a previous article I wrote about why carbohydrates won’t make you a fat bastard here.

Ghrelin is a hormone that has been shown in animal studies at least, that is linked with learning and memory.  This hormone is highest in the daytime hours when the stomach is empty. So when we eat large meals, this suppresses it. (3).

So if you were to say, study for an exam, or had that project you need to finish in 5 hours because you were too slack to do it the days before because game of thrones was on TV, or you were playing a memory game where if you remembered the card with the word and picture the beautiful lady in front will take a piece of her clothing off and if you remembered wrong you’d get hit in the shin by a bamboo stick, then having a large meal, and a meal rich in carbohydrates during the day none-the-less, is not the most ideal thing to have.

Again, putting this into practice a study observes some beautiful women who ate a larger than normal lunch on their focussed attention and search tasks than another group of beautiful women who had a smaller than normal lunch. The group of women that ate the larger than normal lunch had more errors (4).

Another experiment shows that a three course 1000 calorie lunch produced increased error rate on subsequent cognitive tests while a single 300 calorie sandwich resulted in decreased error rates. (5)

Big meals and memory

If your memory was going to serve you to get this sexy minx to take a piece of her clothing off or spear you in the nads, then don’t go having a large carbohydrate meal, and your biggest meal too, during the day

So if you don’t want to say or do anything seemingly idiotic when you raise your hand up in class to answer a question because you think you’re a sapiosexual mother fudger and you just want to make everyone in the lecture room pop a boner or bonerette with your intelligence, but fail at doing so, it pays to have lighter meals in the day and your biggest meal at dinner.

And just because I KNOW you want to go there, what about our ancestors, eh? Let’s have this argument out of the way.

I can see it now. My ancestor saying to your ancestor, “hey yo great great great greeeeeeeeeeeeeeat grandmommy so fat, that she’s in two different time zones because she’s eating dinner for breakfast!”

While it is hard to speculate how each culture ate from way back when, evidence shows a few things of our early eating patterns. Australian aboriginals for instance, reported that during the day they ate servings of foods that required no cooking or minimal at best which was fruits, nuts, fish etc.  While the remainder of the fresh kill they had when they went on hunts was dragged back to camp to share with other tribe members (so their biggest meal was at night).  (6).

In fact, most hunter-gatherer societies’ eating patterns are observed as “evening is considered the most pleasent time, with band members, enjoying their only large meal of the day, and joking and singing at night.” (7).

How did our ancestors eat?

Want a nutshell of what you’ve just read? Of course you do! Here’s that delicious nutshell:

  • Eating the biggest meal at night can help you sleep which means you’ll have better gains because of better sleep. It won’t make you fat, and in fact it can even increase caloric expenditure.
  • Lean body mass tends to be better maintained eating your biggest meal at night
  • Memory, search tasks, and general brain performance is heightened with smaller caloric meals during the day. If you ate a carbohydrate rich meal and a big one at that, it can have a sedating effect, and cause more errors in thinking.
  • Our ancestors ate lightly during the day, usually ate things that required minimal to less cooking and ate their biggest meals in the PM hours

One meal a day

The next time someone tells you that you eating the biggest meal of the day at dinner is going to get you fat, you can look at them and ask and tell “So did that person that dumped you because you didn’t take them on that dinner date still single? Because I got two tickets to an all you can eat steak buffet and since I’ve been working oh so tiresome all day long doing stuff, I need to have that big meal tonight since I have no time to get slowed down by my own food during the  day. Maybe I’ll get her over to my place for whip cream too.”




Ceps Weston Domingo is a personal trainer and nutritional consultant, and best selling author of the 30 day paleo weight loss plan, 30 day paleo slow cooker recipe cookbook, and The ketogenic diet weight loss plan and recipe cookbook: How to lose weight fast, meal plans and 50 recipes the low carbohydrate way


Copyright © Ceps Weston Domingo


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1) Taylor, M.A., Garrow, J.S. (2001). Compared with nibbling, neither gorging nor a morning fast affect short-term energy balance in obese patients in a chamber calorimeter. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. Apr;25(4):519-28.

2) Keim, N.L., Van Loan M.D., Horn W.F., Barbieri, T.F., Mayclin, P.L. (1997). Weight loss is greater with consumption of large morning meals and fat-free mass is preserved with large evening meals in women on a controlled weight reduction regimen. J Nutr. Jan;127(1):75-82.

3) Diano et al. (2006). Ghrelin controls hippocampal spine synapse density and memory performance. Nat Neurosci. Mar;9(3):381-8. Epub 2006 Feb 19.

4) Smith, A, Et al. (1991). Influences of meal size on post-lunch changes in performance efficiency, mood and cardiovascular function. Appetite, 16:85-91

5) Craig, A. (1986). Acute effects of meals on perceptual and cognitive efficiency. Nutrition Reviews.

6) Jewell, P.A, et al. (1991). Traditional diet and food preferences of Australian-Aboriginal hunter-gatherers: Discussion. Philosophical Transactions of the royal society of London. B. Biological Sciences.

7) Hill, K., Hurtado, A. (1989). Ecological studies among some South American foragers. American Scientist.


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  • Bida Williams

    Reply Reply July 3, 2016

    What the fuck are you talking about? You write like a cunt.
    I could not understand what you was getting at because of your non funny references.
    Seemed like a good article at first but spoilt by your bullshit b

    • CepsWeston

      Reply Reply July 20, 2016

      Wasn’t under the impression that I was trying to please you with my writing style, B, and I couldn’t care less. And I’ll take you saying that I write like a cunt as a compliment, since A) We use cunt like a term of endearment here in Australia, and B) the literal meaning of cunt means Vagina, and seeing as we all love a nice wet vagina, I’m going to take that as the readers that keep coming back reading what I post are happy with the orgasmic content.

      So go Fudge yourself and have a nice day!

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