In theory, weight control is a simple matter of balancing energy intake (the amount of calories supplied by food) with energy output. In other words it’s calories in vs. calories out. But when it comes to weight control, nothing is simple. Here is what we know.

When you eat doesn't matter - it's how much you eat and exercise that makes the difference. If you take in even one more calorie than your body needs, your body will store the excess calories as fat no matter what time you eat or what kind of food it is. That said, here are some good reasons to avoid eating before bedtime:

 The foods people tend to eat at night are usually high-fat, high-calorie foods such as ice cream, chips, cookies, popcorn with butter, and other sugary foods and beverages.

 Eating spicy, fatty, or high-acid foods during the three hours before lying down can contribute to heartburn, in which stomach contents rise up into the esophagus and cause burning pain. If you're prone to heartburn, avoid evening eating, and if you must eat, stay away from irritating foods such as citrus fruits, chocolate, spicy foods, high-fat foods, and drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine.

 It's easy to overeat if you snack while watching TV. You're distracted and most of the commercials are encouraging you to eat more!

You tell yourself that you’re just going to eat a couple of cookies, and before you know it, you've gobbled up the whole bag. If you are hungry in the evening, choose a small, filling snack such as some kind of fruit or pre-cute vegetable. These foods have fiber, and fiber makes you feel full. Be sure to include before bed time snacking in your daily calorie journal. If you can't sleep without a bite to eat, save some calories from earlier in the day. Remember, the key to weight loss is how many calories you consumed in a 24 hour period vs. how many calories you’ve burned.