Can eating late at night affect my weight?
The timing of a meal is crucial when the body is deciding what to do with all the calories consumed. Studies show that food consumed late at night, or anytime after you normally eat your last meal, can have a negative effect on your weight. A lot of the negative health effects come from the types of foods people eat when they go for a late night snack.
Most people are tired around then, so they instinctively eat high-calorie, high-sugar snacks to give them some energy. This food has a much higher chance of being stored as fat, since it is unlikely people will be active enough after eating to prevent the calories being converted into long-term storage in the form of fat. Junk food also leads to more junk food. Spikes in insulin lead people to seek out more sugary foods later in the night, only making the problem worse.
Will it impact my sleep?
Eating food before bed can also impair your ability to get a good night’s sleep, which can directly effect your weight. When you eat late at night, you feel fuller and your body is working to digest all of that food, disrupting your ability to fall and stay asleep. A lack of sleep impairs certain hormones that regulate your hunger level and leave you feeling hungrier. Thus, that late night meal starts a chain of events that hurts your weight loss goals not only at the time of the meal, but into the next day as well.
How to prevent the late-night cravings
So how can you prevent these late night cravings? Well for starters, going to sleep earlier is the best thing you can do for your health. But as we all live busy lives, this might not be as attainable as we would like. Try eating more filling meals throughout the day, so that you aren’t craving food late at night. Larger breakfasts and lunches, complete with protein to fill your stomach, are the best defense against late night hunger.
Exercise has also been shown to prevent late night cravings. Exercise can help manage your cravings, as well as tiring you out to help you fall asleep more quickly and without needing a last meal. If you absolutely must have a snack before you eat, try to eat a small meal comprised almost entirely of protein. Protein will keep you satiated throughout the night and will digest over time, protecting against any stomach discomfort in the night.
Another way to maintain your overall health is by adding supplements to your diet. WellPath offers customized vitamin packs with supplements chosen for you based on your unique lifestyle, goals, and needs. Take a free survey to see your results.