Late night Eating
Studies and speculations linking late night eating to weight gain have been circulating for years, but is it really the one way ticket to obesity it’s made out to be?
If you’re anything like me, your daily meals increase in size from breakfast to dinner. Large breakfasts are a weekend luxury lunch is often swift and functional, which leaves dinner as the one meal I can enjoy in peace. I’m not ashamed to admit I also snack on in front of the computer or while watching TV. So does eating late at night make you fat or what?
Well, yes and no. There are a number of contributing factors that could cause weight gain. Our late night eating habits depend on our daytime food consumption. Reaching for sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks between meals causes insulin levels to spike and has a knock-on effect on appetite.
Scientist Dr Christie Wilcox says: “High spikes in insulin lead to dramatic drops in blood glucose, which can cause your body to feel hungry sooner. Insulin actually triggers the storage of fats in adipose tissues, so sustained high levels of insulin promote weight gain.
“Our bodies don’t break down fat while insulin is circulating. This means that if we eat foods with high GIs that produce sustained insulin levels, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot, even if we eat less calories overall.”
So if you’re snacking unhealthily throughout the day, the likelihood is, you’re going to be ravenous by dinner time and stuff your face and this will take you above the Limits.
But food cravings aren’t always easy to control. The sensible human side of your brain might want to abstain but the hedonistic monkey side is ten times stronger. Like an obstinate toddler it nags for a sugary ‘reward’, chipping away at your well-intentioned will power. Fortunately there’s a way to lock the little jerk out.
Swapping out unhealthy foods for options low on the glycaemic index will leave you feeling fuller for longer. Foods can work in synergy with each so including lean, protein-rich foods such as fish, low fat dairy products, lean meats and pulses can lower the overall GI value of a meal. Selecting wholegrain, high-fibre starchy foods can also help weight loss. Even if you’re not looking to lose weight it’s still healthier anyway. Take that, monkey!
Sleep is another important factor. The stomach takes around three hours to empty itself. Sitting upright helps gravity do its work and let us digest effectively. If you lie down on a full stomach you could be at risk of heartburn and acid reflux which could affect the quality of your sleep.
The quality of your sleep will impact on how strongly your body reacts to food. Studies have shown a poor night’s sleep stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. Getting in seven to nine hours good quality slumber could quell the hankering for slaggy snacks.
People eat at night for a variety of reasons that often have little to do with hunger, from satisfying cravings to coping with boredom or stress. And after-dinner snacks tend not to be controlled. They often consist of large portions of high-calorie foods (like chips, cookies, candy), eaten while sitting in front of the television or computer. In this situation, it’s all too easy to consume the entire bag, carton, or container before you realize it. Besides those unnecessary extra calories, eating too close to bedtime can cause indigestion and sleeping problems.
This type of night time eating is not to be confused with the medical condition “night eating syndrome,” which requires professional medical attention.)
There’s nothing wrong with eating a light, healthy snack after dinner as long as you plan for it as part of your daily calories. To keep from overeating, pay attention to your food while eating, avoid eating in front of the TV, and choose a portion-controlled snack. Some good options are packaged 100 calorie snacks, small servings of popcorn, ice cream bars, low-fat yogurt or fruit.
When you’re trying to lose weight, eat regular meals and consume 90% of your calories before 8 p.m. The benefit of eating meals every three to four hours is it helps regulate your blood sugar, and thus control hunger and cravings.
Eating late at night is putting millions of people in danger of heart attacks and strokes, experts warn.
A late-night meal keeps the body on ‘high alert’ when it should be winding down, researchers found.
Experts think this is because eating releases a rush of stress hormones when the body should be starting to relax.
People who do not see their blood pressure fall at night are known as ‘non-dippers’ – and have a much higher rate of heart-related death.
Experts estimate that 40 per cent of patients with hypertension are non-dippers – potentially 3.76million people in Britain – putting them at serious risk of major heart problems.
Dr Özpelit said: ‘It is more dangerous. If blood pressure doesn’t drop by more than 10 per cent this increases cardiovascular risk and these patients have more heart attacks, strokes and chronic disease.’
But even healthy people with normal blood pressure should take note of the findings, Dr Özpelit said.
‘How we eat may be as important as what we eat,’ she said.
She advised that people do not skip breakfast, eat lunch, and keep dinner to a small meal.
‘Late night eating and skipping breakfast is such an erratic eating pattern which is becoming more prevalent day by day. If skipping breakfast make you to over eat later, then you must have breakfast before going out