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Why Snacking at Night is Bad for your Waistline

Timing is everything indeed. And when it comes to late night snacking, it’s a no-no, even if your snacks are healthy. It’s bad news for late night snackers.

Your body has an internal clock, which typically wants you to be awake during the day and asleep at night. For this reason, the food that you eat during “normal waking hours” is metabolized much faster than food eaten at 3:00 am when your body clock is in sleep mode. Your liver also absorbs fats much faster during the day, so when you eat at night most of that fat gets stored causing weight gain. It is also way too easy to consume massive amounts of calories when you are up late watching tv and just mindlessly munching.

Effects of Late-night Snacking:

It Makes It Harder to Lose Weight. Actually, it WILL make you gain weight. Your ability to gain or lose weight doesn’t just depend on caloric intake; late hours calories will more likely be stored as fat in your body.

It Is Detrimental for Metabolic Health. Eating late decreases the rate at which carbohydrates are metabolized, decreases glucose tolerance, and blunts daily profile in free cortisol concentrations. A good rule of thumb is to never consume a carb rich meal at night before bed. Going to bed with elevated blood sugar makes it much more likely that the excess blood sugar will be converted to triglycerides and stored as fat. It also suppresses your body’s production of growth hormone.

It Affects Your Memory and Concentration Levels. It’s not just your waistline that suffers when you indulge in late night cravings too often. Eating late at night is bad for your brain health too. Irregular eating patterns affect the circadian system, which in turn affects the brain’s ability of learning, concentration and memorizing.

It Can Cause Disturbed Dreams. Eating patterns can directly be linked to bizarre, disturbing dreams, especially if you indulged in spicy food and dairy.

It Increases Risk for Acid Reflux. When your tummy is struggling to digest food while you lie in bed, the pressure of food metabolizing can result in the loosening your lower esophageal sphincter, allowing undigested food and stomach acids to travel back up the esophagus.

It Is Linked to Eating Disorders. If you find yourself craving for bedtime snacks night after night, there could be a deeper problem. For anyone engaging in repetitive night-time eating without even being hungry, you could be dealing with NES or Night Eating Syndrome. Studies have linked this Night Eating Syndrome (NES) with eating disorders like binge eating.

What to eat at night if you can’t help it: 

Sometimes you are just going to crave a snack, especially when you are traveling or working late hours, and your circadian rhythm is off. When you find you are just too hungry to sleep try one of the following:

A Tbsp. of Almond or Peanut Butter

A Handful of Nuts or Seeds

1 or 2 Boiled Eggs

Low Sugar Berries (Raspberries or Blackberries) + 1 oz. of Cheese

Cottage Cheese or Plain No Added Sugar Yogurt

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