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Diet Mistake

Believing you shouldn’t eat after 6 p.m.

CONTRIBUTOR Erin Castle, RD, LD

THE FLAW: When it come to weight loss, there isn’t a magical cutoff time to stop eating. “The calories in food don’t increase after 6 p.m.,” says Erin Castle, a Roper St. Francis Healthcare dietitian. “I often see people who try not to eat after a certain time but ultimately snack late at night or wake up overly hungry.” Current research in support of fasting relates to specific health conditions, not necessarily weight loss, and the long-term effects of the practice are still unknown.

THE FIX: “Listen to your body and do what makes the most sense for you,” emphasizes the dietitian. If you eat dinner at 6 p.m. but don’t go to bed until 11 p.m., it’s normal to be hungry again in the late evening. “Five hours is a long time between fueling.” Instead of restricting yourself, plan for an intentional healthy snack at 8:30 p.m. If waiting to eat dinner until 7:30 p.m. rather than conforming to a 6 p.m. cutoff results in a more balanced meal, adjust the timing of your evening meal.

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