Supper Leads to Weight Gain: True Or False?

It’s safe to say that S’poreans like supper when we have 21 pages of results when you search for supper.

People always say that a meal brings people together, or that friends invite people for meals and thus it ties people together.

So socialising sort of became an excuse for people to invite others for a late night prata and dim sum, but really, I think the real reason is just that those people wanted to eat.

GIF: Tenor.com

At least, that’s what my excuse is.

Anyway, with our love for supper, the question is: will it lead to weight gain? The short answer is no.

But first things first.

Weight loss/gain is 75% diet

I didn’t pull that number out of my ass. That’s from Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, nutritional biochemist and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clini. That’s the conclusion derived after analysing more than 700 weight loss studies.

He said, “On average, people who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost 23 pounds; the exercisers lost only six over about 21 weeks.”

Think of all the gym rats around you. Even with all the things they are doing, they are also probably watching their diet a lot, counting calories and avoiding sweet things. That’s because dieting is the most important part of weight control.

But what this means is that if you have supper as an additional meal, instead of splitting the same amount of food into the 3 meals and supper, you are going to be eating more, and thus gain weight.

Basically, “supper calories don’t count” doesn’t work.

Image: Giphy

Some studies say supper does not increase weight gain; calorie intake does

In 2 academic articles (here and here) that you probably don’t want to read, they concluded that late-night eating (aka supper) isn’t associated with weight gain, but those who slept later because of supper also tend to eat more, which contributed to weight gain.

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That’s not solely for adults; a study on children in the UK also came to the same conclusion.

If you happen to find some animal studies did on mice, just remember that those studies are done on mice, and the human studies provided different results.

Mice studies also clearly didn’t account for gym rats/ Image: Giphy

How did the myth start then?

For most people, supper happens to be extra calories. So that’s how the association of supper = weight gain started. On average, late-night eaters consume 500 more calories per day.

Another thing is the food choices. At that time, nobody wants to cook, so even if we grab something from our fridge, it’s going to be a snack bar or something easy to eat. Which also happen to be something high in calories.

What’s the next best option then? Late-night roti prata? McDelivery? You’re absolutely right. And both of those are not exactly healthy calorie-wise.

Eating at night doesn’t make you fat, eating more does

So, go ahead and eat all the supper you want, as long this means you eat less on lunch and dinner to compensate. Or perhaps just shift your meal times to accommodate for supper.

For me, knowing all these doesn’t make a difference if I don’t care about my own weight.

Image: Giphy

As they say, not knowing is bliss. Can’t care about calories if you don’t count the calories.