There no better feeling than digging your teeth in a bar of chocolate or chomping down on your favourite chips to calm down your midnight hunger pangs. Almost everyone is guilty of eating late at night. It usually starts with skipping your breakfast followed by eating small meals in the hustle of work. By the end of the day when we are about to sleep, our body is so calorie deficit that we end up eating more calories in one go than we ate all day. It does not take long for late night snacking to become a habit, and when indulged in regularly, late-night snacking can affect your health negatively. Research indicates that eating when you are supposed to sleep can have surprising negative effects on your health.
1. Weight Gain:
We are more prone to overeating at night than during the day. This is because our body responds differently to calories consumed during the day and those consumed during the night. Midnight munching does not give us the same food high that we after eating get during the day. This is because of decreased production of leptin, the chemical responsible to make us feel full, during the night. In the absence of our stomach signalling, it’s full, we eat more than required which ultimately leads to weight gain.
2. Acid Reflux:
Lying down immediately after consuming calorie dense food is not good for our gut. Our body requires certain time to digest the food that we have eaten by secreting stomach acid. If we lie down immediately without giving our body enough time, the acid from the stomach can leak into the oesophagus causing acid reflux and heartburn.
3. It Affects Your Memory:
According to studies, late night eating can cause havoc on our brains. By eating during the wrong time of the day we cause an imbalance in the circadian rhythm of the body. This imbalance has been linked to disruption of hippocampal region, the part of our brain responsible for remembering things and memory.
4. Increased Risk Of Heart Attack:
Eating late at night increases the risk of heart attack by increasing the level of harmful fats in the blood. Various studies have found that midnight snacking leads to increased levels of triglycerides, the type of fats which can cause heart disease. Moreover, eating late at night affects your blood pressure. On a normal day, our blood pressures lower at night as we sleep increasing slightly as we are about to get up. When we eat late at night, our blood pressure is elevated making us prone to suffer from hypertension and heart diseases in future.
5. Skin damage:
Interestingly, the altered eating cycle is associated with vulnerable skin. Midnight munching makes our skin more vulnerable to damage from UV radiation. Our skin is protected from UV radiations by an enzyme called xeroderma pigmentosum. It becomes more active during the day less active during the night. When we eat late at night, this rhythm is disrupted leaving our skin susceptible to damage.
All the above points confirm one fact, that midnight snacking is bad for your health. It’s best to follow a healthy eating pattern of eating breakfast like a prince, lunch like a king and dinner like a pauper.
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