What Causes Late Night Snacking?

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Late night snacking is a sure-fire way to derail what might have otherwise been considered a healthy and effective diet. Unfortunately, many of us succumb to this habit from time to time. Not only can snacking at midnight be tough to avoid, but the associated physical and biological effects are much more profound than you may have been initially led to believe. We should therefore take a look at several relevant questions.

Why exactly is midnight snacking bad? When is eating in the evening considered late night snacking? How does such a routine impact your body weight over time? If you are hoping to break this habit, the following information will be quite relevant.

What Causes Individuals to Eat Late at Night?

There is no single reason why some of us are prone to be tempted by late night snacks. For instance, perhaps certain individuals do not consume a sufficient number of healthy calories throughout the day. There can also be times when insomnia causes us to feel hungry long after we have gone to bed. It is likewise thought that stress may play a significant role. Some use evening snacks as a coping mechanism and as a means to “decompress” after a long day at work.

Medical conditions may likewise increase the chances of being tempted by foods late in the evening. Some eating disorders (such as bulimia) can lead to sudden hunger pangs that are nearly impossible to overcome. Hormonal imbalances could likewise represent a contributing factor.

Finally, there can be times when eating late at night begins to feel like a prerequisite activity before heading off to bed. The problem here is that consuming calories in such a manner will actually make it more difficult to fall asleep. Thus, you will be at a higher risk of developing chronic issues such as insomnia.

Causes of late night snacking

When is it Too Late to Consume Food?

A fair amount of conjecture is associated with this next question. Some researchers feel that you should finish your last meal at least two hours before you plan on retiring. Others believe that eating no later than six or seven o’clock in the evening will provide the most significant health benefits.

As a general rule of thumb, it could be a good idea to finish any snacks at least three hours before going to bed. Once again, this also depends on what you choose to consume as well as your sleeping schedule.

What Types of Foods are Unhealthy as Evening Snacks?

Are all late night snacks unhealthy? Not necessarily. Some types of foods might actually help you to obtain a sound night of sleep if eaten sparingly. Common examples include almonds, turkey, chamomile tea, fatty fish, and passionflower. Having said this, there are also specific substances to avoid whenever possible. Here are some of the most relevant:

  • Foods that are high in sugar.
  • Substances containing caffeine or nicotine.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Cheeses.
  • Acidic foods that are likely to cause heartburn or GERD.

Furthermore, calorie-laden foods will nearly always contribute to weight gain. As the metabolism of your body slows during the overnight hours, it is much more likely that these excess calories will be stored as fat.

Midnight snacking is bad

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