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Why You Must Eat Before Going to Bed?

2012-12-29 09:57

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You have probably heard the old myth, that you should not eat before bed, because all the food you eat will be stored as fat. That is simply not true. People burn quite a number of calories while sleeping or resting in bed. If you know how many calories you are going to burn while sleeping, you can eat the same number of calories without getting fatter.

For bodybuilders and athletes, it is important to eat before bed. Doing so will bathe the muscles with complete amino acids for the whole night. I am going to develop a mathematical formula, so that you will know how many calories you can eat before bed, without getting fatter.

First, we need to calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate(RMR). There are many formulas, and for the sake of simplicity, let's use Owen's equation.

Owen's equation(kilograms):

RMR (male) = 879 + (10.2 * (body weight in kilograms))

RMR (female) = 795 + (7.18 * (body weight in kilograms))

Owen's equation(pounds):

RMR (male) = 879 + (4.64 * (body weight in pounds))

RMR (female) = 795 + (3.26 * (body weight in pounds))

One day has 1440 minutes. If we divide RMR by 1440, we will calculate how many calories per minute does a person burn at rest. Now, that we know this number, it is time to calculate how many calories a person will burn while sleeping. Sleeping has a MET value of 0.9, which means a calorie burn rate of 0.9 * (RMR/1440) calories per minute.

Finally we have to multiply the calorie burn rate per minute by the number of minutes that a person sleeps. We arrive at the formula: 0.9 * (RMR/1440) * number of minutes sleeping

We can further refine this formula because we haven't taken into consideration the Thermic Effect of Food. For most mixed meals, the body burns around 10% of the eaten calories to digest the food. To calculate the precise number of calories we need to eat to maintain zero calorie balance while sleeping, we will solve this equation:

Calories Eaten(CE) - TEF = 0.9 * (RMR/1440) * number of minutes sleeping (noms)

TEF = Calories Eaten/10

CE - CE/10 = 0.9 * (RMR/1440) * noms

9*CE/10 = 0.9 * (RMR/1440) * noms

0.9 * CE = 0.9 * (RMR/1440) * noms

CE = (RMR/1440) * noms

The formula turned out to be simpler than we expected. Another simplification is to base the formula on hours, not minutes. In this case:

Calories Eaten Before Bed = (RMR/24) * Hours Slept

It is time for a real world example. Consider a 200 pound male bodybuilder, that sleeps 7 hours a night.

Resting Metabolic Rate = 879 + (4.64 * 200) = 1807

Calories Eaten Before Bed = (RMR/24) * 7 = 527 calories

In this specific case, our case study bodybuilder can safely eat 527 calories before going to bed, and we are sure that he will maintain zero calorie balance.

What type of meal is best to eat before bed?

I suggest a protein and fat meal, providing complete slowly digested proteins. The best foods before bed are: all meats, eggs and low-carb cheeses.

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