Most people have heard that you shouldn’t eat after 8pm and there’s good reason for saying that. However, there’s also reasons for eating later in the evening. It’s all about you, your goal and even your digestive system. Some people believe that bedtime calories go directly to fat, and in some cases they’re right. However, other people need those extra calories to sleep sounder.
The link between nighttime calories and weight gain.
You can choose a study to defend your belief on whether eating late will make you gain weight. However, the truth is, no matter when you eat, a calorie is still a calorie. The truth is, when you eat at night, you’re extending the amount of time you eat and that can cause you to eat more calories. Intermittent fasting, the concept of eating all meals in a specific window of time, such as 8 hours, has a proven track record of helping people lose weight. They fast from 7 pm to 11 am and eat from 11am to 7 pm. It reduces the amount of time they can eat, so they tend to eat less.
Acid reflux can be a problem when you’re eating late at night.
Besides packing on the pounds, late night eating can cause acid reflux. It takes time to digest food and a big meal before bed can cause problems. Acid reflux occurs in the obese, sedentary or people under stress. It damages the esophagus and can narrow it or lead to esophageal cancer. It can cause heartburn as a more immediate problem. If you gain weight from late night eating, it makes the problem even worse.
Late night snacks often aren’t of the healthy variety.
If you’re raiding the refrigerator late at night, you tend to find food that’s quick to serve and requires little preparation. That can include everything from cake and cookies to leftover pizza and chips. If you know you’re going to eat later at night, have low calorie options ready. Some people need to eat in order to sleep. It is an instinct to stay awake and look for food if you’re hungry. Have food that’s high in tryptophan ready to eat. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps create niacin. Niacin is used by the body to create serotonin and serotonin helps you sleep. Foods that are high in tryptophan include cheese, eggs, chicken, milk and turkey.
- Eating at night may improve your sleep in another way, especially if you’re consuming foods with magnesium. Magnesium can lower stress hormones and improve your overall sleep.
- An ounce of almonds may be beneficial at nighttime. It can boost serotonin levels and also contains magnesium. Serotonin help with your circadian clock that monitors your sleep/wake cycle.
- Be prepared at bedtime if you know you have to eat before bed. Have something light ready, like Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts that you can store in the refrigerator. Include a banana in the mix to boost the magnesium.
- Avoid saturated fat before sleep and fatty meals. Fatty meals are hard to digest and can cause issues. Saturated fat can negatively affect the quality of sleep by interrupting the NREM sleep, the first stage of sleep.
For more information, contact us today at Targeted Nutrition Technologies