Late-night meals and midnight snacks aren’t uncommon. Whether you get home late from work and have to eat dinner when you’re usually going to bed, watch a movie late and snack on popcorn, or feel the need to graze on food to stay awake on a late study night, there’s a temptation to eat during the nighttime hours. Is this harmless, or is it bad to eat at night? Science consistently has told us it’s an unhealthy habit.
These are the reasons why you should not eat late in the night
1. Altered hormone function.
When people eat more in the evening, they have higher markers of inflammation. In one study, for each 10 percent increase in the proportion of total calories consumed between 5 pm and midnight, there was a 3 percent increase in C-Reactive protein, a major marker of inflammation in the body.
3. Impairments in blood sugar regulation.
Our body’s ability to use insulin to control blood sugar changes throughout the day, and it is least efficient at night. Glucose levels after meals are highest when meals are consumed late in the day.Shift workers show decreased blood sugarcontrol when eating food at night.Researchers suggest avoiding meals with a high-glycemic index in the evening to avoid the negative effects and increased disease risk associated with high blood sugar.
4. Weight gain.
Human studies have shown that when we eat a significant portion of our total food intake in the evening, we are more likely to be obese.One reason for this may be that there are regulatory elements for the circadian clock in our fat tissues, and disrupting those elements can lead to impaired fat storage.Eating at night can also increase the total amount of food you eat each day, leading to more weight gain.
5. Elevated triglycerides and cholesterol.
Eating out of sync with our circadian rhythm can impact the way the body metabolizes lipids. This can lead to increased levels of both triglycerides and cholesterol. Read more about the link between nighttime eating and elevated lipid levels here.
6. Impaired memory.
Recent research suggests that our memory can be affected by eating at night. Researchers found that mice who were fed meals during the time they should have been sleeping experienced deficits in learning and memory.
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