You must have been asked by many people not to eat anything after 7 pm or late at night. And the foremost reason they give you for doing so is that you will lose weight as they believe all the food consumed after this particular period of time turns into fat. But what about the people who come back home late from work? Should they starve themselves in order to maintain a good physique. And what about the people who work on night shifts? They should not think about food and burn their energy. No, that does not seem to be a healthy lifestyle.
Keeping up a good shape while eating at night seems impossible to those who believe there is a specific time period for when you should eat. However, late night snack is not the sole factor that triggers your weight. There are various reasons for gaining weight so one should not blame the timing of one’s dinner. Moreover, our digestion system has it’s own way of working. That means the digestion process can not stop or relax. In fact, You will digest more efficiently during sleep as your parasympathetic nervous system is dominant at rest which favors blood flow through your enteric bloodstream which enhances absorption of gut breakdown products.
Following are some points that will help you to decide whether to eat or not to eat at night.
One thing is clear — food eaten in the evening doesn’t turn into fat. A person gets fat when they eat a lot but move very little. They consume more energy than they spend. This means it’s the number of consumed calories that affects the extra weight and not the time that dinner is eaten. People who are used to eating in the evening consume more food within the day than those who go to bed early and limit their food intake before going to sleep.
The scientists from Northwestern University, USA were watching 2 groups of people. The participants of the first group went to bed at midnight and got up at 8 AM, while the second group consisted of night owls. The latter were consuming more calories per day, the main part of which came from evening dinners and snacks. It’s important to note that the examinees from the night group ate more fast food but fewer vegetables and fruit.
During another experiment, the examinees were keeping a special diet during the day but were allowed to eat chocolate from vending machines in the evening. Those who used this “chocolate” option gained weight and the chocolate bars they bought made up approximately 15% of their daily norm.
That’s probably the reason why the rule about eating after 6 PM appeared. It’s the evening time when eating consciously becomes an uphill task. People come from work tired and hungry so they cook and eat quickly. Also, one of the most popular after-work activities is watching a TV series, which is often followed by eating potato chips or other snacks. Also, if you suddenly find out in the evening that you ran out of all the products at home, it’s likely that you’ll order a pizza instead of going to the supermarket for vegetables. Even the joke about checking your fridge every 10 minutes to find out if anything tasty has appeared there is very indicative of this because very often we have nothing to do and this boredom makes us want to chew something.
Scientists confirm that night owls sleep approximately 1 hour less than early birds and they have more opportunities to overeat. This means they have more time for food, an increased sensitivity to food rewards, changing appetite hormones, and a necessity to sustain energy due to a lack of sleep.
Of course, it does! Our digestive tract doesn’t stop working during sleep — whether it’s night sleep or daytime sleep. Many health professionals say that a person’s metabolism naturally slows down at night. However, research has shown that these changes in the speed of metabolism at night are insignificant. Digestion is parasympathetic nervous system dominant process and hence is most stimulated when you are most relaxed.
Food that we eat affects the quality of our sleep. Research has shown that saturated fats (of animal origin) prevent a person from falling asleep and make them more restless. Other factors like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar also affect the quality of sleep negatively.
That’s when people who like to have late evening snacks risk falling into a vicious cycle.Sleeping disorders may develop due to overeating, while a lack of sleep should be compensated with the energy received from food during the day. Moreover, a lack of sleep affects one’s susceptibility to food stimuli, or to say in simple terms, it becomes more difficult for a person to refuse a second slice of cake after lunch or a cookie before going to sleep.
You can eat after 6 PM if you don’t go to sleep at 8 PM. If you suffer from extra weight, watch the total consumption of calories during the day because in the evening and in the daytime is when you can overeat. If you’ve noticed that you eat a lot before going to bed, think about why you are overeating.
It can be connected with emotional issues. Compulsive overeating is an urge to always be chewing something in order to block anxiety or the feeling of guilt.
Evening overeating can be a habit that appears due to boredom or from a lack of activity. All you need to do here is switch on your willpower and stop chewing snacks without thinking. Then you’ll be able to have more control over your meal schedule.
Very often, overeating at night is due to you having a poor breakfast or lunch. If you didn’t get enough food in the daytime, you’ll obviously be feeling hungry in the evening.
- Try to have dinner or a snack 2.5 to 3 hours prior to going to sleep. Avoid fattening foods.
- If you start to feel hungry after you’ve already gotten in bed, don’t ignore this signal, but instead, try to give preference to fruits and natural yogurt instead of a sandwich.
- Specialists recommend consuming products that promote the production of melatonin and serotonin in the evening. These can be found in dairy products, fish, turkey, bananas, kiwis, cherries, almonds, and honey.
- If you suffer from diabetes or acid reflux, make a meal schedule with your doctor.
Drinking lukewarm water helps in digesting food. It is only fair to workout at least to balance what you ate in your lunch time.