ASK DR LIBBY

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT - I’ve read that you shouldn’t eat any­thing af­ter 6pm be­cause it turns to fat more eas­ily. Is there any truth to this? And should we eat three main meals, or six smaller ones? Thanks, Jay.

Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

ginger slice or even drink it with lemon juice and a lit­tle bit of a honey and warm wa­ter as a sooth­ing drink. Hi Jay. The (in­cor­rect) idea is that if you eat too late and go to bed on a full stom­ach, your body’s me­tab­o­lism will slow down and in­stead of burn­ing off the food you just ate, you’ll turn it all into fat and gain weight. Your body di­gests and uses en­ergy via the same path­ways morn­ing, noon and night. Food eaten af­ter 6pm doesn’t mag­i­cally turn into fat. How­ever, many peo­ple feel phys­i­cally bet­ter and sleep bet­ter when they have a smaller meal at night and eat ear­lier but that’s a per­sonal pref­er­ence. From a di­ges­tive per­spec­tive it is cer­tainly bet­ter not to eat late at night, as this is your body’s time to rest and re­pair.

The fac­tors that have a ma­jor ef­fect on your meta­bolic rate in­clude your mus­cle mass and thy­roid func­tion, and build­ing mus­cle mass is es­sen­tial from the age of 30 on­wards, to coun­ter­act the nat­u­ral losses that will oth­er­wise oc­cur.

When it comes to meal fre­quency it is def­i­nitely an in­di­vid­ual choice. Some peo­ple feel bet­ter fu­elled when they eat smaller meals more reg­u­larly whereas oth­ers find it eas­ier or that their hunger is sup­ported with three main meals. Di­gest­ing a meal raises me­tab­o­lism slightly, how­ever mul­ti­ple stud­ies have com­pared eat­ing many smaller meals against fewer larger meals and con­cluded that there is no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence on meta­bolic rate.

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