With an increase in health issues every day, we are beginning to hear a lot about the importance of eating early and the cons of late night binging. Eating late at night is usually blamed for obesity, but it also contributes to various other health complications. Calories that are consumed at night are not processed as efficiently as those consumed during the day. The habit of late night binging usually starts with skipping breakfast, eating a petite lunch, and by 8 pm you want to eat everything in sight or even wake up at midnight with food cravings.
One of the most important reasons to avoid late night eating is the possible risk of weight gain associated with this habit. While most people are aware of the fact that late night gorging may contribute to weight gain, they are not always aware of how it can happen. This is basically caused by the changes in the rate at which our metabolism functions during our sleeping hours versus our waking hours. At night, our metabolism slows down and the food that we consume is metabolized and digested at a much slower rate. This may contribute to increased weight, and thus obesity. So people trying to lose weight should eat at least 2 hours before bed. If you must eat late due to unavoidable reasons, then choose foods that that are low in calories and rich in fibre.
FLUCTUATIONS IN SLEEP CYCLE
Another important reason to avoid late night eating is due to the effect it can have on your sleep cycle. Studies have shown that the digestive process can have serious implications on your sleep cycle, cause you to wake up more often, and give you a hard time falling asleep at the first place. One of the worst foods that can disrupt your sleep cycle are sugary foods such as chocolates, cookies or other baked goods. These foods may also cause grogginess the following day. In contrast, chamomile tea or some warm milk may actually help you to fall asleep at night.
HEART BURN AND ACID REFLUX
Acid reflux is a condition in which the stomach acid trickles up into the oesophagus after eating. It is often accompanied by heartburn, or a burning sensation in your lower or mid-chest. Though occasional acid reflux and heartburn symptoms are rarely a cause for alarm, recurrent symptoms can indicate chronic digestive disorder or GERD—gastro oesophageal reflux disease. Going to bed immediately after eating can trigger acid reflux or other GERD symptoms. Overeating or eating high-fat acidic foods at night heighten these risks.
TIPS TO AVOID LATE NIGHT BINGING-
- Eat a big breakfast and a moderate lunch.
- Have a satiating dinner before 7 PM.
- When you resort to late-night eating, opt for nutritious foods, such as whole grains, fruits or vegetables.
- Try not to watch TV while eating. Studies have shown that it might subconsciously trigger the desire for more food.
- Create a new night time ritual of taking a brisk walk after dinner.