Late-Night eating is common in these days, especially among people who are working in the corporate world. Every one of us has given in to the temptation of eating late at night at least once in our lives. Indulging in a midnight snack once in a while probably won’t hurt you, but if you make a habit of it, it could end up having negative effects on your health and well-being in the long run. There’s a good reason why dietitians, doctors, and other health professionals all recommend breaking the practice of snacking late in the evening or munching on greasy, fried foods whenever you are hungry in the middle of the night. If you’re a smoker, your habit could be more harmful to your health than you realize. As if gaining weight at the wrong times of day wasn’t bad enough, eating at weird hours of the day might cause other, more serious problems.
When you should eat your last meal of the day has been a topic of heated discussion. When a person quits eating depends on a variety of circumstances, including hunger, routine, culture, employment, and social obligations. Most people are worried about gaining weight because of late-night eating. Everyone seems to have an opinion about when you should quit eating, but you might wonder if any of them are grounded in reality.
It is widely held that eating right before bed is not a good idea. The common idea that suppertime eating will cause overnight weight gain is a major contributor to this. However, there are many who argue that eating something before night can help with weight loss. Whether or not you should consume food in the three hours between dinner and night is a debatable question in the field of nutrition. It’s often accepted that eating right before bed might lead to weight gain due to the natural slowing of your metabolism when you’re asleep. The calories may be more likely to be stored as fat as a result. Alternately, there are many in the field of medicine who argue that eating before bed is not only acceptable but may even help with weight loss and quality of sleep. It’s not surprising that many people don’t know what to do because of this. There is proof for all sides of the issue, and that’s part of the difficulty.
Your basal metabolic rate is about the same at night as it is during the day, despite the common belief that a slowed metabolism during sleep causes weight gain. A full tank of gas is necessary for your sleeping body. There is also less support for the idea that it is more important to watch one’s calorie intake right before bed than at any other time of day.
Why it is bad for you?
Nighttime munching is more than simply a bad habit; it has the potential to become an actual eating problem, dubbed “Night Eating Syndrome.” People are told to eat the majority of their energy unit during the day because that’s when they’ll get the most use out of the fuel they provide. If you’re someone who can’t resist the need to eat at odd hours, you should be aware of the risks you’re taking.
What are the negative impacts of late-night eating?
The following are some of the consequences of choosing to eat late at night that you should be aware of.
The Disruption of Restful Sleep
Late-night eaters are more likely to have an irregular sleep schedule because of the time of day they eat. It has also been discovered that eating late at night may be the cause of muddled dreams for some people. In 2015, two Canadian psychologists studied the effects of late-night munching on sleep. They found that college students who partake in the practice are more likely to experience “bizarre” dreams, which may be the result of the gastrointestinal discomfort brought on by the snacks.
Your sleep will be disrupted by the constant rumbling of your stomach as it demands more food in the middle of the night. Body fatigue would set in as a result of less time spent sleeping. The recommended amount of sleep for an adult is 8 hours. Having that much energy is a sign of good health. Sleep deprivation can compromise otherwise healthy habits.
Bad Absorption and irregular bowel movements
If you frequently experience acid reflux or heartburn, you may want to consider shifting when you eat. These stomach problems have been connected to eating dinner too late, as the food may not be properly digested, resulting in an excess of stomach acid. That’s why it’s recommended that you take a stroll after dinner instead of heading directly to bed.
Already slow metabolism is slowed down even further by eating late at night. You just aren’t able to break down your food fast enough. Illnesses are more likely to strike someone with poor digestion. Inadequate nutrient distribution is to blame. Late-night bingeing can leave you weak and unable to fight off any illnesses to which you may be predisposed. Eating well and at regular intervals can prevent many preventable diseases. The habit of nighttime snacking is associated with sluggish metabolism and an increased risk of contracting numerous infectious diseases. It will cause a dramatic increase in the fatty molecules that contribute to illness.
Eating too late might raise your chances of acid reflux, particularly when you go to bed soon thereafter, and it can have a greater effect on larger and lower-quality meals. Dinner around 6 o’clock, as opposed to 9 o’clock, has been demonstrated to alleviate acid reflux symptoms in healthy persons in a study comparing the two meal times.
Gaining Weight Unhealthily
Having meals at inconvenient times can throw off your body’s circadian rhythm (also known as your body clock). In addition to disrupting sleep and leading to hormone imbalances, an off-kilter circadian cycle may also promote overeating. A possible explanation for this is that people who eat late at night often make unhealthy selections. The rate at which your body burns calories at night is lower than what it is during the day.
Researchers haven’t come to any firm conclusions despite widespread fear that eating late at night may lead to weight gain. This assertion may be supported by the assumption that your body tries to metabolize food, a process known as food-induced thermogenesis, which varies at different times of the day. A greater reading was recorded in the morning, whereas a lower one was recorded in the evening. Reducing your nighttime eating habits may help you consume fewer calories and maintain a healthy weight. Yet, additional study is required.
The biggest danger of nighttime eating is that it usually results in taking in more calories than is necessary. Scientists at Northwestern University showed that eating right before bedtime may contribute to weight gain. This is a result of both the greater total daily calorie intake and the increased number of eating opportunities.
Obesity develops when excess weight is maintained over time. Late-night snacking has been linked to future weight gain, according to another study. Results showed that people who consumed food between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. tended to consume more calories overall during the day. Their average daily calorie intake was almost 500 more for them. In other words, eating late at night can have the unintended consequence of making you fatter. Further, if the body accumulates weight, getting rid of the excess fat can be challenging. Nighttime snacking can add up and cause weight gain. The difficulty in later self-control increases if the snacks in question are high in fat or sugar. The extra calories from late-night snacking stay in our bodies for a long time, contributing to rapid weight gain. On the contrary, eating low-calorie foods will help you lose weight.
Late-night hunger is a solid sign if you’re on a diet. And maybe you think you can handle just one chocolate bar or cheesy snack. However, for many people, this pattern eventually leads to even more weight gain.
High blood pressure
More significant consequences, such as an elevated risk of cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes, may result from a confused biological clock. Eating over the recommended dinner time of 7 p.m. has been associated with hypertension and increased fasting blood sugar levels.
Adverse Mental Health
Have you ever noticed that lack of sleep makes you more vulnerable to mood changes and irritability? Late-night eating indirectly affects your mental well-being, eating late at night can disrupt your sleep. Anxiety and despair may be exacerbated by poor sleep quality brought on by stomach pain and disruptions in circadian rhythm.
Poor dietary decisions
Consuming foods later in the day increases the likelihood that you may overeat or opt for unhealthy, convenient meals like chips, candy, and ice cream. According to the results of a survey conducted on 104 obese individuals, 45 percent reported craving sweets while watching television at night.
In addition, nighttime binge eating can be the result of not eating sufficiently during the day. Research shows that those who eat fewer than three meals each day report feeling hungrier than those who consume the recommended minimum. The selection of lighter meals may also have this effect. Thirty-five obese men participated in the study, and those who ate a diet packed with protein and fiber reported feeling less hungry.
Potential memory and cognitive impairment
After two weeks of nourishment, mice were put through a battery of cognitive tests by UCLA researchers. It was possible to eat during one of two time periods. The daytime period was the most active time for the mice in one. The other time was during mouse sleep. Their results suggested that meal timing had major implications for learning and memory. Memory-forming molecules were disrupted in the mice that ate when they should have been sleeping.
Of course, we need more human studies to validate this before we can say for sure that no humans are immune. As a stopgap measure, the researchers think it could be beneficial to eat the majority of one’s calories earlier in the day.
Possibility of affecting pregnancy
During pregnancy, the frequency and severity of hunger sensations typically experienced by a human being are amplified to a level typically seen in a human being twice their standard size. Your hunger levels would skyrocket. And you’d want to have snack items available at all times. However, you should avoid eating anything three hours before bedtime. Late-night snacking may help reduce your body mass index, according to medical professionals. You and your unborn child’s health would be jeopardized if that seeped down to you when you were pregnant.
Maintain a diet of fresh, healthful meals throughout the day, but stay away from any late-night munchies.
The Bottom Line
A few easy steps can be taken to cut down on those midnight munchies. First, you can get rid of the temptation by clearing out your kitchen of any unhealthy treats. Eat a hearty and nutritious dinner so you won’t be peckish when midnight rolls around. You should see a doctor or registered dietitian if you are not able to break this pattern on your own.