Health & Fitness Australia

How to Fight against Late-night Snacking

Late-night Snacking
Written by Eugene Chasia

How to Fight against Late-night Snacking

Many a times we are told that late-night snacking is bad for us. Researchers have supported this claim with their numerous study results. The body’s internal clock controls calories expenditure and thus if you overeat at night, these calories are more likely to be stored as fat.

I am not saying that you jump into your bed on an empty stomach. You need to be disciplined in your snacking. Want to have less than 300 calories – consuming above this is a meal – be calm enough before hitting the sack for sufficient digestion time.

Gone are the days when we relied on the customary three meals per day. The American Heart Association research suggests that we do skip meals, snack from time to time and have food in our mouth nearly around the clock.

The effects of late-night snacking surpass the unhealthiness of the ultra-processed, sugar- and salt-laden foods we tend to munch on after dinner.

Late-night Snacking

Downsides of late-night snacking

Weight Gain

This is a top priority as to why you should keep off eating late at night. Whereas you may have heard that late-night eating can ultimately lead to gain in weight, you may lack an understanding as to how happens. Your body weight increases primarily because there is a difference between the rates of metabolic functions when you are asleep versus when awake.

You are relatively active during the day and that means metabolic functions are taking place at a faster rate. Metabolism slows down when you are asleep and therefore the food you recently consumed will be digested at a slower rate. This makes your body weight to increase and face the danger of becoming obese.

If you are working on your weight, it is recommended to suspend eating at least 2 hours before bedtime. If you have to snack at night, some good options include vegetables, fruits or other products less rich in calories and fat.

Increased Urination and Excretion Needs

Do you hate waking up from your sweet sleep just to visit the restroom? Well, change this pattern by avoiding late-night snacking. If you eat at night, it means food will be digested while you are asleep and you have to wake up and get rid of the waste products. Avoid this by eating fiber-based foods in case you are really hungry. Foods rich in fiber take a lot of time to digest and you may need up to 8 hours to excrete the waste products.

Late-night SnackingSource: Publicdomainphotography

Fluctuations in Sleep Cycle

One last reason you may want to avoid eating late at night is because the behavior may affect your sleep cycle. Apart from waking up to get rid of waste products, the digestive process may make you to wake up more often than it ought be and have a hard time finding sleep. People who find it difficult to sleep should keep off sugary foods like cookies or any baked stuff. As a replacement, you may take warmed milk or chamomile tea.

5 Ways to Avoid Late-Night Eating

We have seen in a nutshell that late-night snacking isn’t good for your body. How can you then beat it? Luckily enough, this is a behavior we can effectively control. The following strategies may help you reset your eating patterns and better control that night food.

  • Eat regular meals

If you fail to eat sufficient amounts of food throughout the day, you are basically preparing for nighttime binging. Turn the tables to your advantage and increase your success chances after sunset by eating to satisfaction during the day. Plan ahead what you will eat in a given day so as to avoid getting caught up in a busy schedule. It’s not mandatory that it has to be square meals – two or three meals in addition to some few snacks will do. The reasoning here is that you have to use a pattern that works best for you.

  • Set some ground rules

It’s late at night – you are seated on the sofa watching TV while eating out of a carton. This is a perfect scene for you to overeat. To keep off from this haunting behavior, it’s about time you drew some lines that can’t be crossed. If you decide that you must eat something, use a bowl and put the rest away. Pause the TV and concentrate on your food after which you can go back to your programming. Research has shown that most people overeat while watching TV. The logic is simple – your mind gets caught in the programme while your hands are busy serving the mouth more food.

Late-night Snacking

  • Plan an evening snack

If you are the kind of a person whose dinner comes to the table early and you occasionally become hungry at night, make arrangements for a small, healthy snack before bedtime. Some suggestions include avocado toast, fruit, a cup of soup or yogurt. The idea here is that you will snack under your control and not as controlled by your appetite.

  • Wait and reevaluate

You just got a mysterious crave for food at night but don’t rush to the fridge yet. Relax for 15 minutes and figure out whether you are really hungry. If yes, are there some other alternatives for satisfaction? You may be surprised by what a relaxing bath, a cup of tea or brisk walk can do to that crave. Also, the 15 minutes may result into the crave fading away as you happily get engaged in a different activity. But again you may decide to eat something once that time ends. Regardless, wait a bit and evaluate your feeling before jumping to that snack.

  • Pick a cutoff time

Have a designated evening time past which you will touch nothing related to food. Most people do better with 8 or 9 p.m. but you can go with any time convenient for you. Just keep in mind that the cutoff time selected should be 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. It should not be so long that you get hungry again before sleeping.

Late-night SnackingSource: Publicdomainphotography

About the author

Eugene Chasia

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