Midnight Snacking- A friend with no benefits?

How often do we crave for a midnight maggi or pair of butter toast to stop that stomach from making gruesome noises at the dead of the night? Well, too often. And that’s probably one of the many things we are doing wrong in our lives but we still love it, especially to those who envision themselves of getting a toned belly. How good we make an excuse for it, but the fact remains that this mid-night snacking is just as bad for our digestive cycle and our health as is not getting a proper sleep.

And although weight gain mechanism is extremely complex in humans and is not simply based on “calories in calories out”, there are enough researches to prove that eating at a time when the body should sleep have quite a number of repercussions.

Recommended Read: Healthy Snacks for Late Night Cravings

Why exactly is it harmful?

No matter how different human beings are from each other, one thing that doesn’t vary between each of us is how are genes respond in response to light and dark, which has evolved over the years to be such way. There exists a circadian rhythm, or, in simple words, body clock amongst each one of us located in our hypothalamus of the brain. It tunes your rhythm of the day, and also ensures that your organs and body resonates with it too. The clock has developed over the years to be less in a state of accepting food the longer you wait after sunset. So the later you start gobbling onto something to keep the hunger at bay, which makes it less desirable for the physiology of the body to deal with food.

This consequently promotes a negative profile of weight, energy usage and your metabolism. And in case you plan on shedding those extra kilos, this is bad news, since if your body has an option of burning carbohydrates (which is always prioritized higher) instead of the body fat, this puts one into a metabolic disadvantage. It can also disrupt your hormonal markers which help in digestion like insulin, resulting in higher glucose levels, cholesterol and triglycerides directly hinting at increased risks of cardiovascular problems and other health conditions.

The change in circadian cycle also disturbs our memory retention capability and other cognitive functioning as internal rhythms fall out of sync with the external environment, the effects similar to those in case of jet lag. Not to mention, this also goes onto disrupt the cyclical timing of sleep. 

Tips to defeat the midnight hunger pangs

  • Include lots of fiber in your diet. This keeps your digestion healthy and makes you feel full for a longer time.    
  • Avoid keeping yourself idle for a long period of time after dinner. Keeping your mind occupied lessens the chance you’d feel bored and reach out for food just to pass time in a better way.