We all know that unhealthy eating can be harmful to your health. But what are the health effects of eating late at night?
Also, is there a wrong time to eat too?
Yes, proper meal timing can have positive impacts on their body.
These late-night hunger pangs, when uncontrolled, can lead t obesity. And also in some cases, lead to memory loss patterns.
Eating right with a balanced diet and at the right time helps improve the body’s metabolism.
In this article, we will discuss some of the effects of eating late at night.
Let’s dive in.
1. Increases risk of obesity
The main risk of eating late at night is that it often leads to consuming more calories.
A study by researchers at Northwestern University found that eating closer to sleep may lead to weight gain.
This is because of the higher total daily caloric intake and a greater number of eating occasions.
Weight gain when unchecked becomes chronic and leads to obesity.
Another study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that late-night eating predicted weight gain.
The findings showed that participants who ate between 11 pm and 5 am ate more during the day. They were more likely to eat around 500 calories more per day.
Point is, if you eat late at night, you risk the health effect of increasing weight gain.
And if the body gains weight, it is difficult to lose that extra flab.
Your midnight snacks can lead up to weight gain. And if those snacks are fatty or sugary foods, they would be challenging to control at a later stage.
Late-night snacks store the extra calories in our bodies for hours, and that is why they can speed up your weight gain.
As far as weight loss goes, you want to do the opposite and eat low-calorie foods.
If you are dieting, you are sure to feel hungry late at night. And might think that one chocolate or a cheesy snack won’t be a problem.
But often that habit becomes a slippery slope for packing on more stubborn fat.
2. May impair memory and learning
Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles tested the cognitive abilities of the mice after feeding them for two weeks.
There were two windows of feeding. One was during the day when the mice were most active. The other was when the mice slept.
Their findings showed that the timing of meals may have significant effects on memory and learned behavior.
The mice who ate while they should have been sleeping impaired molecules involved in memory formation.
True, more research on humans will be needed to confirm if humans are also susceptible.
Pending that, the researchers agree that it could helpful to shift high caloric intake to earlier in the day cycle.
3. Can lead to eating disorders
People who tend to eat their food late are also likely to make poor food choices.
Part of the reason is that you’re tired late at night. And research shows that the more tired you are, the more you’re likely to crave unhealthy or high-calorie food.
Also if you don’t get enough sleep, you tend to eat more than you probably should.
These cravings and poor choices if we act on them, can lead to eating disorders. This is a really negative health sign.
Eating disorders like emotional eating cause you to eat a lot more throughout the day. Or you would be eating less than average calories that your body needs.
4. Increases risk of GERD
One of the health effects of eating late at night is the risk of GERD.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is an uncomfortable experience. It’s when food contents in the stomach get back up into the esophagus.
If you are having late night snacks and lying down on your stomach and eating all those, then your stomach acids start to track back up your esophagus.
GERD is more common than you’d think.
Research estimates that between 18.1 and 27.8 percent in North America experience GERD.
In Europe and East Asia, the prevalence is around 8.8 -25.9 percent and 2.5-7.8 percent respectively.
You get burps and sharp stomach pain as a result of this activity.
It is an internal struggle that your body goes through, which you can prevent. It is not a sign of a good and healthy system.
Experts say one should have at least a two-hour gap between their last meal and sleep.
5. Disturbs sleep schedule
When your stomach rumbles at night and asks for more food, it is going to interrupt your sleeping cycle.
You would have a feeling of tiredness in your body because of fewer sleeping hours.
The average sleeping hours of a person should be 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. That is a sign of a healthy person.
Not having enough sleep can impede a healthy lifestyle.
6. May affect pregnancy
Pregnancy is a period where our usual hunger pangs double the times of an average person.
Your cravings would be touching the roof. And you would want to have food that too snacks at every point of time.
But, at night you should stop yourself from munching anything before going to sleep. Doctors suggest that late-night eating tends to lower the BMI of your body.
And if that drips down for a pregnant woman, then it would adversely affect your and your baby’s health.
Eat healthy and fresh foods throughout the day but strictly avoid late at night snacking.
7. Can affect metabolism and digestion
In general, the body’s metabolism is low at night. This is because we are not moving.
Eating late at night makes an already low metabolic state worse. You’re not able to digest the food quickly enough.
Poor digestion can make you vulnerable to illnesses. This is because your body is not able to distribute the right nutrients to body.
If you are binge eating at late hours, you’ll not have the power to fight any diseases you are prone to.
Eating healthy and at proper hours would save you from a lot of unwanted illnesses.
If you are munching at night, then be ready for a poor metabolism and an invitation to a lot of common colds or flu and diseases.
It is going to shoot up the fatty molecules that would increase your risk of being ill.
If you can, avoid eating at odd hours. Its many health effects are not worth it. We all desire to live a long and healthy life.
Stay fit with proper diet at proper timing and reduce the negative impact on your precious body.