Dose of Truth

Does this bowl of guac make me look fat?

BBC online gives us a short list of medical myths.

* I’ve been saying for a long time (to disbelieving parents) that it’s a myth that sugar makes kids hyperactive. Gee, your kid is all crazy after eating birthday cake? Surprise, he was at a birthday party with clowns and rides and games and lots of other screaming kids.

Note also that when parents have been told (true or not) that the kids have had sugar, they rate their children’s behavior as being more active.

[Apparently, there may be something in the coloring used in kids’ treats that causes hyperactive behavior. This isn’t mentioned in the list of myths, by the way. That’s bonus material for weeklyrob readers.]

* I’m also interested in the myth that nighttime eating causes weight gain. Everyone says that it does, but it never made sense to me. Math is simple. The more calories you eat, the more calories you have to burn. I don’t see how it matters when you eat them.

But I never questioned it much, ’cause there’s a lot that I don’t understand. So I just shrugged and said, “ok, I guess this guacamole will make me fatter than if I’d eaten it two hours ago.”

4 Responses to Dose of Truth

  1. JB December 18, 2008 at 12:43 pm #

    I think the nighttime eating thing is supposed to be all about your metabolism. Going to bed a little hungry is supposed to raise your metabolic rate while you sleep, letting your burn a few more calories while sleeping.

    Also, something that seems inarguable is that you wake up hungry for breakfast, which is supposed to be your largest meal of the day.

    I’m just saying this is the theory. I think it makes sense if you accept that there are times when your body is at rest and still burning more calories than at other times.

    It’s always seemed odd to me that the goal is to have a fast metabolism, which means burning more calories while just sitting around, which is less efficient than a really slow metabolism that doesn’t waste energy when it’s not necessary. Maybe the trade off with that high metabolism is a greater capacity for effort or something.

  2. weeklyrob December 18, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    I never heard that bit about the nighttime metabolism thing. I always heard what’s in the article, which is that you don’t burn those calories because you’re sleeping.

    Anyway, it’s my understanding that eating raises your metabolism, so that theory also doesn’t make sense to me.

    Breakfast is supposed to be a nourishing meal, but not for weight loss, I don’t think. Is it? If so, than that’s probably because eating breakfast raises your metabolism!

    As far as it seeming inefficient to have a fast metabolism, of course, you’re right. The goal, if you’re trying to lose weight, is to be inefficient. You want to burn more fuel than you really need to burn.

    You want to run for 30 minutes without actually getting anywhere, for example, solely to burn fuel.

    If someone did this with a car, we’d call him crazy. But then, a car with a full tank doesn’t get laughed at in gym class.

    If you’re not trying to lose weight, then I don’t think a fast metabolism is better than a slow one, or more of a goal. I’d guess that it’s just a byproduct (or indicator) of being well-muscled and getting plenty of exercise.

  3. JB December 31, 2008 at 5:15 pm #

    Well it is definitely true that we burn calories while sleeping. Being unconscious doesn’t stop your body from using energy.

    So if you go to bed hungry, maybe it’s just that you don’t have to experience those 8 hours of hunger while your body burns fat instead of food?

  4. weeklyrob December 31, 2008 at 6:21 pm #

    The point is, I think, that we burn FEWER when we’re inactive (sleeping) than when we’re active.

    Anyway, as far as these other reasons not to eat at night, well, sure. (I don’t think that going to be hungry is a good idea, but if your plan is to be hungry, doing it while sleeping sounds best to me.)

    But the myth that I’ve always heard, and that the article addresses, is this thing about not eating at that time due to burning less when sleeping (see this thread).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe without commenting

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes