Study: Why you shouldn’t eat late at night
Science says you need to stop your late night snacking.Provided To China Daily
As well as contributing to weight gain, a new study has suggested that snacking late at night could increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that eating late at night raises glucose and insulin levels, both of which are causes of type 2 diabetes.
They also found evidence that poor timing of meals can also affect cholesterol levels which can increase the risk of heart disease or suffering a heart attack.
The researchers asked nine adults of a healthy weight to eat three meals and two snacks between 8am and 7pm for eight weeks and then asked the same but between noon and 11pm for another eight weeks. To control for sleep, the researchers asked participants to sleep between 11pm to 9am for both of the eight weeks.
They found that when participants ate later at night not only did their weight increase, but so did their levels of insulin, glucose and cholesterol.
They also found that during the first eight weeks of daytime eating, participants produced a hormone which stimulates the appetite to help them feel fuller for longer.
Namni Goel, lead author of the study, said: “Eating later can promote a negative profile of weight, energy and hormone markers – such as higher glucose and insulin, which are implicated in diabetes, and cholesterol and triglycerides, which are linked with cardiovascular problems and other health conditions.”
This isn’t the first time a study has suggested that late night snacking could be detrimental to your health. Here we round up five reasons why you should avoid eating late at night …
1. It can affect your memory: According to American researchers, snacking late at night could negatively affect your memory. The study, from the University of California, found that eating at irregular hours – such as late at night – had the potential to impact cognitive functions.
Over a period of two weeks, researchers fed one group of mice – nocturnal animals – during the day while the other group were fed at night like usual.
They then tested the ability of the mice to distinguish new objects in their cage. The mice with the disrupted eating habits showed a lesser ability to recognise new objects than the mice who continued to eat as usual. In addition, they also found that the ability to create long-term memories was damaged in the mice who were being fed during the day.
2. It makes you have weird dreams: In 2015, a pair of Canadian psychologists investigated whether people’s eating habits can have a negative effect on sleep patterns and dreaming.
Tore Nielsen and Russell Powell asked almost 400 university students to fill in a questionnaire about the diet, sleep, and dream experiences and found that 18 percent believed food has the ability to “render their dreams more bizarre or disturbing.”
Alongside eating too much of certain kinds of foods (dairy products and spicy meals), Nielsen and Powell found that eating late at night was also to blame for the confusing dreams. They said this could be because late night snacking can often lead to gastrointestinal discomfort which in turn can cause difficulty sleeping.
3. It increases the risk of a heart attack: Experts have found that eating dinner after 7pm could increase the risk of suffering a heart attack. Researchers from Dokuz Eylül University assessed more than 700 adults with high blood pressure in order to find out whether different eating times made a difference to their health.
They found that eating dinner late at night had the most significant impact on overnight blood pressure while eating with two hours of going to sleep did more damage than indulging in a high salt content diet.
4. It creates acid reflux: According to experts, eating late at night (especially heavy foods) and going to sleep shortly after is a key contributor to acid reflux.
Because your stomach takes a few hours to empty after a meal, physician Jamie Koufman says when you go to sleep it allows for the acid to spill out of your still full stomach and leak into your esophagus, leading to acid reflux.
5. It makes you hungrier the next day: Eating late at night can have you feeling hungrier than usual when you wake up the next morning thanks to the insulin your pancreas releases after a meal.
This in turn produces more glucose which triggers a hormone called ‘ghrelin’, responsible for triggering hunger.