We know that calories do not reset after midnight. So, naturally you may wonder, how many hours until calories reset? When is the exact moment?
When you sleep, your body doesn’t ‘reset’ at all. Your body is burning calories all seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
When you resume eating after a period of fasting or sleeping, your calorie intake then resumes. You are actually still burning calories during this entire time you are not eating.
The interval between the last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day can be quite long, but your body is still working overtime during this period.
How the Body Reacts to Overeating
Some research has looked at how eating too many calories can affect our long-term health in a variety of ways.
We know our skeletal muscle and fat tissue can be altered, and our hormone levels can be disrupted, especially insulin.
It’s still unclear how our bodies respond to occasional overindulgence and whether it has an impact on our general health, which was the goal of a most recent study.
When done repeatedly however, we then see the effects of overeating. Overeating is a natural human tendency that can last for a long time, if not overcome.
One such traditional fattening festival celebrated by the Massa tribe involves participants indulging themselves to the point of overindulgence during the festival of Guru Walla.
Over the course of just two months, many members accumulate 11 kg of fat by consuming more than three times the daily calorie consumption that is suggested for the majority of adults.
If you consume too much food, your blood sugar levels will rise which will spike insulin. Done over time repeatedly, can lead to developing Type II Diabetes.
In one study, a group of 14 healthy men ranging in age from 22 to 37 were evaluated.
During one experiment, they were instructed to eat as much pizza as possible and stop when they had had enough. They consumed about 1500 calories each, which is about the same as half of a large pizza.
They were then asked to eat until they were so full that they couldn’t eat any more on a separate day.
3,000 calories were the average intake for some, while nearly two-and-a-half big pizzas were consumed by others (4,800 calories).
We can see that the second time they were asked to overeat, they consumed double the amount if not more.
This is how easy it is to fall down a rabbit hole of overeating and gain a large amount of weight in a short time.
It is important to track our food intake to prevent overeating, but you may be thinking to yourself “I hate counting calories, is there another way?”
Reasons to Stop Counting Calories
I am a big proponent of counting calories. It is how I had so much success losing weight. I do realize that counting calories is not for everyone.
Some people find it boring or just plain stressful.
If you do choose to not count calories, you can still lose weight if you are mindful.
Let’s talk about some reasons why some people choose to not count calories at all in their weight loss plan, and what you can do instead.
1. Labels can lie.
The nutrition facts panel has a 20% margin of error, according to labeling requirements.
You could be looking at an extra 119 calories in your 100-calorie snack pack! A 500-calorie TV dinner, on the other hand, could contain as many as 600.
If the reported nutrient content on a product’s label is more than 20% higher than what the lab analysis shows, the label is considered out of conformity, and any discrepancy greater than 120 percent is grounds for rejecting the product as nutritionally inert.
This is very interesting. Who would have known that nutrition labels are not 100% accurate?
While this may be true, nutrition labels are still important and definitely can help to guide you to be in a specific calorie range when losing weight utilizing a calorie deficit.
You can use them as a guide instead of following calories listed to a tee. Also, they will be helpful to see the contents within the food, not only calories.
2. Nutrients vary by season, variety etc.
The USDA and food companies can’t possibly analyze every tomato variety from every region and season under every possible growing condition (e.g., organic vs. conventional) or any other variable for nutrients, including calories, no matter how convenient it is to have nutrient analyses of foods.
Summer tomatoes, with their intense sweetness, contain more calories and nutrients than their winter counterparts, which tend to be bland and tasteless.
3. We don’t absorb all the calories.
Exactly! Up to 20% of the calories in almonds were not absorbed by humans in one study.
According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (2008) Nuts’ “cellular structure” and the way our bodies digest food may be to blame, but no one knows for sure.
Highly processed foods can alter our calorie absorption significantly.
To summarize, when comparing food processing methods, it is necessary to take functional differences among edible plants, as well as those between families and even species, into account.
Eating healthy, whole foods is important.
4. Focusing on calories often means we restrict healthy foods.
Fatty foods are particularly problematic in this regard.
Higher-fat foods are often omitted from our diets because of their higher caloric content, without considering the health benefits they may provide, such as helping us stay full longer, absorbing antioxidants from vegetables, and obtaining essential nutrients, like fat-soluble vitamins.
Not all fats are bad fats. There are actually many good fats.
To avoid a deficiency in brain-building nutrients, pregnant women should avoid limiting fat intake.
You can choose not to pay attention to nutrition labels, especially when it comes to foods like meat, fish, eggs, cheese, butter, avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds; all of which naturally contain fat and may be harder to accurately measure as their sizes can differ.
Some people feel they don’t need a calorie count to tell them that these foods are good for them, and they don’t believe that they should be avoided.
5. Too much math.
Honestly, some people don’t have the time or energy to analyze everything they eat.
What you can do instead of counting calories
Some people feel they can improve their health by eating better without calculating calories or macronutrients and they rely solely on portion control alone.
You might also find it helpful to rely on hunger cues alone. Only eating when you are full and knowing when to stop eating can be an alternate method rather than calorie counting.
Eating slowly, avoiding distractions, and truly savoring every bite can help you to avoid overeating.
Both of these methods can work to lose weight if they are done mindfully.
It is important to keep in the back of your mind however, that no matter which method you choose, you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.
Does Calorie Intake Restart at 12am Each Night?
No, calorie intake does not restart at 12AM.
It’s up to you when to start keeping track of calories, but it should start with the first meal or snack of each day.
If you want to lose weight, keep track of how many calories you consume each day, so that you can meet a long term goal, which are calories burned long term over the course of a week or a month in a calorie deficit.
Healthy weight loss can improve health and aging by 30 percent. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal disease and liver illness.
When Does the Daily Calorie Maintenance Restart?
Calorie maintenance, known as BMR, does not restart.
This number actually varies based on the day, the stress you put upon your body, and your body mass.
BMR does not restart, but it can surely change on a daily basis.
When you lose or gain weight, your basal metabolic rate will change.
The calories required for your body’s calorie maintenance are not constant and this is why it is important to know that this number of calories is only an estimate.
The most accurate way of measuring BMR is in a laboratory setting by scientists specialized in calculating it.
Of course, most people are not going to go to a lab to get a report of their BMR, so calculating it on your own with a calculator will suffice.
How Bad is it to Go Over your Caloric Maintenance?
It takes 3500 more calories a day to gain a pound of fat, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Some meals require more energy to break down than others to be digested. Occasionally, some of those calories are flushed from the body.
Medical conditions or medications can also influence how many calories you take in versus how many you expend.
There is no need to be concerned if you eat more then planned occasionally, such as when attending Thanksgiving at your Grandmas or Aunt Betty and Uncle Mike’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration.
For those who do this every single day, you can expect to gain between 1 and 3 pounds per week on average. This is because you are now in a calorie surplus, and not at maintenance.
Because you need more fuel to maintain a larger body, your BMR increases as you gain weight.
So, if your maintenance is 2000 calories per day and you’re eating 3000, you can expect to gain about 2 pounds in the first week when in this type of a caloric surplus.
Maintenance may rise to 2040 in the second week, however (this is an arbitrary number for an example).
If you continue to eat 3000 calories, your weight will eventually stabilize at your new size if you continue to eat that amount. Without increasing your caloric intake on a regular basis.
Can you Lose Weight by Going from a Calorie Surplus to Maintenance?
Weight loss and fat reduction are simple goals that might be difficult to achieve. Everyone would be in their ideal weight range if this were not the case.
A simple idea underpins successful weight loss. Obviously, it’s not as simple to some as it first appears.
This is called a “calorie deficit” and it is when someone burns more calories than they consume. It is an essential part of weight loss.
A calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight. So YES, if you go from being in a calorie surplus to maintenence, you will definitely lose weight.
When you take in more calories than you expend, you have a “calorie surplus.” This can consist of body fat or muscle, depending on what your goals are, but even when trying to build muscle mass in a caloric surplus, some body fat gain will also coincide.
The term “maintenance” refers to a diet that allows you to maintain your current weight. This is what I call “the sweet spot” is where we want to be if we want our weight to stay constant.
A word of caution: rapid weight loss is possible if your caloric intake is drastically reduced, resulting in a significant deficit, but this is not advisable. You will likely sacrifice muscle in this process while also not consuming adequate amounts of the vitamins and minerals you need to preserve health balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following are some frequently asked questions related to the amount of hours until calories reset.
1. Do calories reset overnight?
No, calories do not reset overnight.
For the entire week, you are still at a deficit despite overeating one day. Our bodies don’t reset overnight, and most people focus too much on a single day. Overeating on a Saturday doesn’t mean that your body must start over from scratch on Sunday.
2. Can I eat after midnight on a calorie deficit?
By simply being alive and moving, your body burns calories all day long, even while you are exercising. If you keep track of your daily caloric intake and maintain a deficit, then when you eat shouldn’t matter. Overeating is a common cause of late-night woes for many people.
3. How many calories per day is inactive?
Doing nothing burns an average of 1800-2500 calories per day. This is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). When you sit for an hour, it is estimated that you’ll burn 75 calories per hour of sitting.
Women between the ages of 19 and 30 who are sedentary burn between 1,800 and 2,000 calories per day, while women between the ages of 31 and 51 who are sedentary burn about 1,800 calories per day.
4. How long does your body take to adjust to new calories?
We have shown that adaptation occurs after at least two weeks of calorie restriction (it may take longer), and that it may or may not remain once the body weight stabilizes post-diet.
5. Do you start at 0 calories?
The calories your body expends just to stay alive are referred to as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). In the morning, the ones you see are those that your body has burned during the night, and they are reset to zero at midnight each day.
Calories do not reset after 24 hours after the last tick of the clock. Long-term trends in calorie consumption are what matter.
In general, calorie counts are relevant because of calories burned over a longer term. Because the human body isn’t a computer, it doesn’t really reset itself.
Your body is always working tirelessly to burn calories.