If you are struggling with weight loss you may be over looking an impacting factor. Ask yourself: When are you having your last meal of the day? Do you find that you are snacking after dinner?
You should have a eating window set and an established cut off time at night after your last meal. Data collected from animals and night-shift workers correlate that those who eat late suffer from what they call, “night eating syndrome“. “Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night — anywhere from after dinner to outside a person’s typical sleep/wake cycle — the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and gain weight rather than burn it as energy, says Kelly Allison of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders” (Allen, 2015).
Data collected suggests that overall the body processes food differently throughout the day. This can be a result of, but not limited to: digestion, body temperature, hormone levels, and physical activity (Allen, 2015).
While eating late at night often prompts weight gain it can also raise your blood sugar. The spiking of blood sugar levels has been linked to raising the risks of other chronic diseases. Often, night time cravings consists of higher calorie foods/snacks (sugary or salty cravings). It is recommended to avoid late night snacking and this can be successfully done through training your not only your body but yourself. Change your mindset if you are seeking to change your current lifestyle (Allen, 2015).
5 Reasons to Avoid Eating Late at Night:
- Altered Hormone Function: Consuming food late at night alters your hormone function, specifically- insulin, glucagon and leptin.
- Increased Inflammation: Calories consumed between the hours of 7 pm and midnight have been linked to an increased C-Reactive protein, which is a indication of inflammation.
- Impaired Blood Sugar Regulation: Insulin produced as a result of the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day is least efficient at night. Consuming food and/or snacks that have a high-glycemic index will increase your blood sugar and impair your body’s ability to regulate your levels, resulting in increasing your risk of other chronic diseases.
- Increased Weight Gain: Eating late at night is linked to weight gain because the disruption of our circadian clock in our fat tissues are disrupted when consuming foods late into the night. As a result, the body is prompted to store fat rather than burn it. The body is less active at night as it attempts to slow down for the night, as triggered by our bodily clock.
- Elevated Triglycerides and Cholesterol: Eating outside of our circadian cycle has an impact on how our body metabolizes lipids, resulting in elevated levels.
Knowing the effects of eating late prompted a change within our family as we are all on our fitness journey. It required us to change our schedule and be consistent in our commitment. Our household enjoys dinner together each night between the hours of 5:00 – 6:00 pm. It only takes on average about two weeks to build a habit and this is a standard that we have set. We avoid eating outside of our dinner window and my husband Andrew is so strict that he will fast if he finds that eating would put him outside of our set eating window. If your schedule does not permit you to eat dinner early, adjustments will need to made to work around this. You can not use your schedule as an excuse. It is true that people find the time and dedication to do what they chose to do. If you are looking to live a more healthier lifestyle you have to want it and make the appropriate changes as needed.
In the effort to minimize nighttime eating I recommend that you commit to a time window for eating. Set a time in which you will break your morning fast from the night before (breakfast= break-fast) and a time in which you will begin your fast at night (last meal of the day-dinner). If you do find that you have a hunger urge outside of your eating window replace high glycemic food/snack options with smaller and high-protein snacks (I.e. eggs, nuts, yogurt).
I encourage everyone reading this post to share your experiences in the comment section. Are you currently battling with eating late? Is weight gain a concern of yours? Is obesity effecting your health? How do you feel? Your testimony can help someone. My primary focus is to build a community around my blog but this is only possible with the help of all of my followers and readers.
Be sure to follow my Facebook page, Fit Life With Erica in order to connect with myself and others on their fitness journey.
Allen, J. V. (2015, August 24). Why eating late at night may be particularly bad for you and your diet. Retrieved April 8, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-eating-late-at-night-may-be-particularly-bad-for-you-and-your-diet/2015/08/24/ad8b85ac-2583-11e5-b77f-eb13a215f593_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a8f4bd12bf7a
Clark, C. (2018, July 11). Is it Bad to Eat at Night? 6 Reasons to Avoid Nighttime Meals and Snacks. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/nutrition/is-it-bad-to-eat-at-night-6-reasons-to-avoid-nighttime-meals-and-snacks/