Back to Articles...


Services/Rates Fitness Articles Myths About Contact Ask Coach Lactate Testing

Cycling Page Fat Loss Page Rhino In The Media Site Search

Holiday health myths- Busted!

Eating at night causes weight gain- Busted
Poinsettia's are toxic - Busted
Home hangover cures - Busted
You lose more heat from your head - Busted
Suicides increase in the winter - Busted

Hmmm.. Well yes and no for the eating at night and heat loss through the head.

There are plenty of articles on this to get further details google news search,

Here are some important facts to consider about eating at night and heat loss through the head..

It's true! Eating at night does not cause weight gain. What matters are calories in versus calories out for the entire day.

So now that you know this, does this mean you can rid your fear of heading to the trough after 6pm? Nope..

While it is a scientific fact that eating at night does not specifically cause weight gain, in practical application NOT eating at night can be part of a healthy weight control strategy.

For practical purposes this applies to those who sleep at night and go about their daily routine during the day, obviously this can't apply to those who sleep during the day and work at night - in that case the principal of not eating more after your "dinner", whenever that is, applies.

Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus healthy snacks; and consume only what you need to meet your energy needs for the day.

If you do this, there is no need to eat at night. Also, if you have already consumed all the calories you need during the day, but feel compelled to eat at night, then those extra calories you eat at night will go straight to your waist line - not because it is nighttime, but because you are eating more than you need.

This is really about habit changing for a positive outcome. If you find that you habitually crave foods at night while watching TV, reading etc, then breaking this habit will be important. It's important to think about disassociating "reward" with any habitual eating, including eating at night. Habitual eating is when you eat even when you are not actually hungry, but you misinterpret a conditioned habit as real hunger.

For instance if you usually eat a snack while watching TV, you could develop an automated association with eating and TV - turn the TV on - whoops, no food- this is a trigger for feeling not quite right without having the usual snack to accompany TV watching. You get your snack, sit back down in front of the TV and ahhh… this feels right..

You can overcome this by recognizing that it is a learned behavior done through repetition. To overcome this you need to repeat the action of not eating at night in front of the TV and when the cravings come, don't give in. Repeat this enough times and the brain will adapt. Don't repeat enough and you'll return to the old habit.

Some research shows that you'll need to do this for around 20 weeks(!) to accumulate an adequate stimulus for the brain to adapt to. Ever wonder why you try and fail to change old habits? If you're not committed to real change and don't give it enough time, chances are you're not giving yourself enough time to adapt.

Also, eating a heavy meal before going to bed can cause a disturbed sleep; and poor sleep quality is a health risk.

So eating at night, or any time of day does not cause weight gain, but if you overcome habitual nighttime eating it can be part of a successful strategy to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, and your sleep quality will improve.

Is it all through your head?

In this popular news story researchers say that we don't lose heat through our head any differently than the rest of our body- and therefore wearing a hat to keep you warm is a poor strategy. Uh, yeah. Right.

To be sure, rate of heat loss through the head is not any different than any other part of the body per square centimeter of skin. But that isn't what we're talking about when it comes to practical application. Will you be warmer if you head is covered? Absolutely; because you have covered an exposed area. Should you preferentially choose covering the head because there is more bang for the buck compared to covering an equal surface area anywhere else on your body? Not according to the research.

The old myth is you can lose 50 to 80% of your body heat through your head. This simply isn't true if you compare heat loss from a naked exposed body- heat loss is about equal anywhere on the body. However, when the rest of your body is covered and your head is not, the only place that heat can escape more quickly is through your exposed head. Are you going to go hypothermic dressed in warm winter gear but no hat if you walk a few blocks with your head uncovered in cold weather? Not likely. But your head won't be very comfortable, and you will lose heat faster compared to having your head covered.

So despite what the researchers suggest it isn't true that getting you kids to wear a hat in cold weather is a poor strategy. Let's get rid of the belief that we lose heat through the head more so than other areas, but keep the practice of covering the head, along with the rest of our bodies, to keep warm in cold temperatures.

The fact is, in cold weather if your head is not covered you will lose a substantial amount of heat compared to covering your head. There is also more protection from frostbite when your ears and nose are covered. It's a little flippant to say we don't need a hat to keep warm. It's an incomplete statement that leaves out important facts and the safe practical application of keeping your head covered in cold weather.


2008 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness

Copyright 2008 Rhino Fitness. All rights reserved.
For more information contact: clabossiere@rhinofitness.ca