Are you always eating dinner after 10 PM? Late night meals aren’t very uncommon owing to work schedules most people have these days. The problem is that, this habit has been declared as an unhealthy habit by science.
Why eating late at night is bad for you?
The human body has an internal clock called the circadian rhythm. This 24-hour cycle which plays an important role in multiple body functions. For example, it affects your metabolism, energy levels, and the functioning of your essential organs.
The circadian rhythm also determines when you are supposed to be awake, sleep and eat. When it comes to eating, we are supposed to eat during the day. Especially during lunchtime, when our digestive system is at its strongest.
However, the entire body machinery is thrown into chaos when eating happens at night, especially late at night. This disturbs the natural circadian rhythm in the body leads to negative changes in the body.
Harmful effects of eating a late dinner
Inflammation increases in the body
It has been observed that people who eat late in the evening have higher markers of inflammation. In fact, a study found that for every 10% increase in calories from the foods you consume after 5 pm, there is a 3% increase in the concentration of C-reactive protein – an inflammation marker in the body.
Blood sugar problems
The body’s ability to utilise insulin to regulate blood sugar levels varies throughout the day. And this ability is the least effective at night. Multiple studies have reported that eating food at night is linked to poor blood sugar control. This is why doctors and nutritionists suggest that you have to avoid high-glycaemic foods in the evening to avoid the negative health effects of high blood sugar.
Studies have found a link between eating late at night and impaired cognitive functions. In a study carried out by the University of California, researchers found that ingesting food late at night affected the ability to create long term memories is affected.
Increases the risk of a heart attack
Eating a late dinner has a significant impact on your blood pressure. In fact, the effect is greater than that of eating a salt-rich diet. Moreover, the blood pressure also stays elevated if one goes to bed within two hours of dinner. Chronic high blood pressure can cause the coronary arteries to become narrow, which increases the risk of a heart attack.
To determine if your blood pressure is optimal, you can always consult a doctor online on DocsApp.
You gain weight
One of the reasons why eating late at night is bad for you, is that it leads to weight gain. Eating a large portion of your total food quota for the day in the evening increases your risk of obesity. One of the reasons this happens is because your fat tissues play a role in regulating the circadian rhythm, so any disruptions to it can affect the fat-storing ability of the body.
Increases triglycerides in the body
Another reason why eating late at night is bad for you is the effect it has on your lipid levels. When your eating habits aren’t in sync with your circadian rhythm then your body doesn’t metabolise lipids too well. Due to this, there is an increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body. High level of lipids in your body is not good for your health. It increases the risk of health problems such as diabetes, kidney disease, stress and hyperthyroidism.
The only solution is to eat as early as possible in the evening. If hunger pangs strike later in the evening, opt for a high-protein snack like nuts instead of foods that are carbohydrate-heavy. Also, you need to ensure there is a gap of at least 2 hours between your last meal and bedtime.
Also, you need to ensure that you don’t feel hungry after dinner. For this purpose, you need to include protein-rich foods in your diet like lentils, cottage cheese and eggs. Protein has a filing effect and promotes satiety, therefore eating protein for dinner will not make you hungry later on.Sometimes stress can cause a person to binge eat. So, try stress-busting techniques like yoga and meditation to keep your mind calm.
Eating late won’t do wonders to your health. So eat your dinner early to stay healthy and fit.