Are you one of those people that likes to sneak to the cupboards late at night, tucking into whatever snacks you find in there? Maybe you like a little pre-bedtime sandwich or a tub of ice cream while you’re binge-watching the latest Netflix series in bed. If so, it looks like you could be putting yourself at risk of health problems in the future. Here is why you need to stop giving into those late night munchies, according to science.
One of the main reasons we’re told not to eat late at night is because of the potential to gain weight through it. After all, your food needs time to go down, and we’re certainly not giving it enough time during those midnight munchies. Plus, those who eat late at night are usually eating more than their recommended calorie intake – as they usually have already eaten their usual meals, and this is just late night snacking. Of course, with weight gain comes a whole host of other issues.
Increased risk of diabetes
During a study by researchers from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, they found some interesting changes in insulin levels from those who ate late at night. Those who tucked into a midnight snack had a rise in both insulin and glucose levels, which is a key warning sign when it comes to diabetes. Raises in glucose and insulin are both causes of type 2 diabetes, meaning that those who eat at night were at greater risk of being diabetic.
Increased risk of heart disease
Along with the spike in insulin and glucose levels, researchers also found that late-night eating had an impact on cholesterol levels. It’s well-known that higher levels of cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease, as well as heart attacks. So, those who are giving into those late night munchies are not just putting themselves at risk of diabetes, but heart disease too.
Affecting your memory
As if the heightened risk of various health conditions wasn’t bad enough, some researchers also believe that eating late at night can affect your memory. A study conducted by the University of California found that those who ate at irregular hours, particularly at night, saw an impact in their cognitive functions such as memory.
Increased risk of acid reflux
Those who eat late at night, especially if it’s a heavy or carb-filled food, could also find themselves with a horrid burning sensation when they’re trying to sleep. This is called acid reflux and is caused by not letting your food go down before you try to sleep. Your stomach needs a few hours to fully empty once you’ve eaten, so make sure you give it time to do its job!
It can make you hungrier
It may sound odd, but it’s believed that those who are partial to late-night snacking might actually find themselves hungrier the next day. As your body is producing more glucose and insulin, this triggers the hormone that’s responsible for hunger, ghrelin. This hormone needs the fasting time (usually between 8pm and 8am) to reset, otherwise you’ll end up feeling constantly hungry. That’s why it’s called break-fast.
Who knew that those midnight snacks could be playing such havoc with our bodies? Perhaps it’s time to give it a rest – literally!