British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Behaviour, Appetite and Obesity

Restricting night-time eating reduces daily energy intake in healthy young men: a short-term cross-over study

James D. LeCheminanta1 c1, Ed Christensona2, Bruce W. Baileya3 and Larry A. Tuckera4

a1 Department of Exercise Sciences, Brigham Young University, 269 SFH, Provo, UT 84602, USA

a2 Department of Exercise Sciences, Brigham Young University, 116 RB, Provo, UT 84602, USA

a3 Department of Exercise Sciences, Brigham Young University, 267 SFH, Provo, UT 84602, USA

a4 Department of Exercise Sciences, Brigham Young University, 237 SFH, Provo, UT 84602, USA


Few experimental data are available to support the notion that reducing night-time eating changes total daily energy intake (EI) or body weight in healthy adults. The present study primarily examined the short-term effect of night eating restriction (NER) on daily EI in healthy young men. It secondarily examined body weight and moods associated with NER. Using a cross-over design, twenty-nine men (20·9 (sd 2·5) years; 24·4 (sd 2·5) kg/m2) initiated a 2-week NER intervention (elimination of EI from 19.00 to 06.00 hours) and a 2-week control condition, counterbalanced and separated by a 1-week washout period. EI and macronutrient intake were assessed using computerised, multiple-pass 24 h food recalls, body weight via a digital scale and mood using the Profile of Mood States survey. Of the twenty-nine participants, twenty-seven (93 %) completed all aspects of the study. During the NER condition, the participants consumed less total energy per d than during the control condition (10 125 v. 11 146 kJ/d; F= 6·41; P= 0·018). During the NER condition, no energy was reported consumed between 19.00 and 06.00 hours; however, during the control condition, the energy intake of participants was 2920 (sd 1347) kJ/d between 19.00 and 06.00 hours. There was a significant difference in weight change between the NER ( − 0·4 (sd 1·1) kg) and control (+0·6 (sd 0·9) kg) conditions (F= 22·68; P< 0·001). Differences in total mood score or mood subscales between the NER and control conditions were not apparent (P>0·05). These findings provide support for NER decreasing short-term EI in healthy young men.

(Received October 05 2012)

(Revised March 08 2013)

(Accepted March 25 2013)

(Online publication May 23 2013)

Key Words:

  • Night;
  • Night eating;
  • Night eating restriction;
  • Energy intake;
  • Obesity and weight management


c1 Corresponding author: J. D. LeCheminant, fax +1 801 422 0555, email


  Abbreviations: NER, night eating restriction; POMS, Profile of Mood States; VAS, visual analogue scale