Gaining weight from eating late at night?
You must have heard this from various people, many times, eating late at night causes weight gain. Now, here’s a look at how to separate fact from fiction. What you eat is more important, than when you eat.
Eating late and your Circadian rhythm
Some researchers have found that eating at night works against your circadian rhythm, which is basically the 24-hour cycle which instructs your body when to sleep, eat and wake. Going by this, night-time is meant for rest and relaxation rather than for eating. Studies on mice have shown that those eating opposite to the time dictated by their circadian rhythms tend to gain more weight than those who eat at other times. When studies were performed on humans, it showed that rather than the timing, the kind of food that was eaten mattered.
You tend to eat more at night
One of the reasons for weight gain while eating late at night is that one tends to eat more. A research study revealed that those who ate between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. had taken in approximately 500 more calories per day compared to those who stuck to eating during daytime hours.
Food choices get impacted at night
Late eaters have the tendency to make poorer food choices which includes calorie filled snacks, chips, chocolate, ice-cream and more. These are low on nutritional value and calorie-dense. Some get into the practice of ‘emotional eating’ to combat feelings of depression, anxiety, sadness, boredom or stress. This makes them usually feel like going in for high calorie foods. Those on night shifts usually go in for unhealthy snacks as healthy food may not be easily available at that time.
If you must eat late at night, make sure you choose right. Go in for carrot and celery sticks with hummus, air-popped plain popcorn, an apple and so on.