Late night snacking, midnight munchies, or the many other names it goes by is something a lot of us are guilty of. When you don’t sleep early enough, your body tends to play tricks on you and you end up getting cravings, notice how I say cravings and not hungry, because around that time (unless you’re on the graveyard shift) you should still be full from dinner. However if you’re up awfully late and this has become a habit, you’ll notice that you tend to snack more around the later it gets, why is that? Not quite sure really, maybe it’s because you’re tired and your body just gets bored, it could be because some of the worst decisions are made at night, either or, if you really look into your pantry consumption of cookies, chips and more, you’ll realize that you tend to snack more in the evening which isn’t good for your health. While I do agree with a snack every now and again during the day for health reasons, evening or late night snack trips are a bad idea and I’ll share why.
No diet accounts for these calories – I have seen a lot of diets and while a whole lot of them account for an afternoon snack, I haven’t really seen a lot of them account for late night snack plans. There’s a good reason for that aside from the fact that the additional calories aren’t good for both your health and your waistline, there are more reasons below as to why late night snack plans aren’t a good idea.
Your metabolism best works during the day – Research has shown that our metabolism best works during the day, so in the evening it is pretty much at a more relaxed setting. Notice how most diets have a rather heavy breakfast or lunch and a rather light dinner? Well that’s because it’s not good for your health to have a super big meal for dinner, as your metabolism is on rest mode for the bulk of the evening. What more if you plan to snack late into the night? Well then you won’t be burning off a lot of the calories or fat that you’re taking in, which will end up on your stomach or other body parts. The reason we have a higher metabolism during the day is we are usually more active during the day, so our bodies have set themselves to burn and use up more energy during the day, that’s why you should not snack in the evening.
Ruins the body’s rhythm – Late night snack attacks are not something that the body is accustomed to, and again for good reason, so when you suddenly introduce some calories or extra intake during an odd hour, the body is jolted and the rhythm is thrown off. This is bad for you as rhythm is very important for the body to maintain orderly and timely processing of food intake. This is almost like when you’re used to a certain work schedule and all of a sudden at 2 AM – 4 AM you are asked to wake up and work, won’t this kind of ruin your 9 PM to 6 PM regular work day? Well you can see how it would really throw off a lot of people and quite frankly that isn’t good for your health at all.
Higher blood sugar – Now not enough research has been done by this yet but signs have been found that late night snack meals have been linked to higher blood sugar in the body, which in turn becomes a ton of chronic diseases. Ideas have stemmed that maybe it is because of the change in temperature at night, the need for less energy as mostly in the evening should be rest and much more, however it has yet to be pinpointed and confirmed if late night snack meals are the reason for higher blood sugar. I think all the same, if you care about your health, which you should, avoid that snack altogether.
Reduced glucose tolerance – Another problem to your health is the reduced glucose tolerance that occurs with late night snack ideas. It has been found that participants who had later meals usually had a lower glucose tolerance, which can lead to diabetes. This is being studied further but it is likely that the ‘internal clock’ in our bodies is the reason we cannot process the calories, sugars and fats from that late night snack. Once more diabetes has reared its ugly head, and one of the leading diseases in the US, we should take all precautions to avoid it as much as possible. By far diabetes is one of the diseases I think we should all take very seriously and should prepare our health to fight against.
Can’t burn it while asleep – Well this one should be self-explanatory for everyone. Sure it’s not like we always go to the gym or do some exercise after breakfast or lunch, but at the very least we are moving, standing and much more during the day. Ideally you’d get some gym time after that so you can burn off more calories but it’s alright not to always do it, at the very least walk around or something. However when we are asleep, we don’t really burn that much, so a late night snack will just sit and fester in our stomach, and yes I used the word fester just to really bring it to a rather glaring light at how bad late night snacking is for your health.
Hormones could be driving the cravings – As mentioned earlier, when it gets late at night, you get cravings in the evening which pretty much drives you to snack late at night, you aren’t really hungry you just want something to munch or eat. Research has shown that hormones are the ones that drive these cravings, they are the ones that pretty much puts your health on hold and wants to just eat the night away. Well there’s not much we can do about these hormones except ignore them, at least for our own health. The idea is to stop staying up too late, so you can avoid late night snack attacks or the lack of sleep, which is another reason why you are probably eating so late at night.
So these are some pretty solid reasons not to snack at night, and now you know why you should avoid it. Not only for your health, well mostly for your health, but overall if you want to lose weight, you definitely want to avoid taking a snack or a heavy meal at night. While it has been found that a snack every so often is good for you and will help stop cravings that will break potential diets, having said snack in the evening is not agreeable whatsoever. Stay with an afternoon or late morning snack if you wake up rather early in the morning, either or anything except a late night snack that will really deter your health. Stay healthy!