You have probably heard a billion times that eating at night is not good, especially if you want to lose weight. Despite what you may have heard, the answer to or not to eat at night is not entirely clear. Eating certain foods at night time can actually accelerate your progress towards attaining your fitness goals. This rule came about because people are less active during the night, burning fewer calories. However, eating at night is good if under the right circumstances. The troublemakers are the mindless eating and junk food. Here are four ways eating at night may help you lose weight and improve your gym performance.

#1. Low glycemic dinner can help control your blood sugar the next day

Starting your day on the right foot does not just mean getting a good night’s sleep, it starts beforehand, at dinner. What you eat for dinner could affect how your body responds to what you eat for breakfast the following morning. Those that eat a low glycemic dinner the previous night are able to regulate their blood sugar better, after breakfast the next day. Try pairing a low glycemic carb such as lentils, sweet potatoes, black beans, a green vegetable with a lean protein, like salmon, chicken breast or lean beef, for dinner and a better control of your blood sugar in the morning.

#2. Not all carbs turn into fat if you eat them at night

The one activity that is most effective on how your body processes and metabolizes food is exercising. As you exercise, your body is changing what it does with the food you eat. This shuttles nutrients towards recovery, meaning after exercising, your muscles will absorb more carbohydrates. Though people restrain from eating carbohydrates at night, because they fear the carbs will be stored as fat, this happens regardless of the time. Depriving yourself from eating after a workout can damper your post-workout recovery and your results. Don’t skip eating carbohydrates after exercising just because it is later during the day. Eat bananas or sweet potatoes to refuel your muscles’ energy stores, making them ready for the next training.

#3. Eating carbohydrates at night can help control hunger

Those that eat more carbohydrates at dinnertime experience hormonal changes that reduce hunger. Being able to control hunger is a key strategy in long-term weight loss success. Your body’s hunger sensors will not adapt to you eating less over time. Dieting means your daily calorie goal becomes lower. However, instead of rationing small amounts of carbohydrates between several meals, it is better to concentrate them in your evening meal.

#4. Protein before sleeping can aid build muscle as you sleep

It is a myth that if you eat before going to bed that your food will not digest when you are asleep. Although, as you sleep, your body keeps functioning, your lungs pass air and your heart pumps blood. Strategic eating before bed can aid build muscles. Protein intake right before bedtime aids muscle growth, repair and maintenance during overnight recovery after work out. To make recovery from training sessions happen faster, eat a casein protein shake or Greek yogurt prior to your bedtime.