Last Updated on March 8, 2023 by Jamie
Some people consume most of their calories at night for reasons other than hunger. Midnight munching may be an emotional eater’s way of dealing with anxiety, dullness, or solitude.
The certain time of the day and the metabolic rate are linked. It means that it’s likely that your metabolism has significantly slowed down during evening and night times when your body naturally slows down.
This also implies that midnight snacking is entirely unhealthy and increases the risk of gaining weight and other health-related complications.
Specialists in healthcare sector most commonly advise not to go to bed with a full stomach and give three hours to the digestive system to complete its function; otherwise, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to heartburn and stomach discomfort.
Be grateful if you haven’t had indigestion, acid reflux, or an upset stomach. Lying down after snacking may cause the acid to rise again and sleeping makes these problems worse.
Late night snacking while going to bed can amend the capability to recall things correctly the next day. Blood pressure increase because of late-night overeating also impairs the cardiovascular system and our ability to sleep.
Pain in the head, which is frequently caused by high blood pressure, can be uncomfortable. It can be a symptom of a major problem like a heart attack.
It might cause blood sugar levels to rise, which might cause illness. During normal intake routine, your body absorbs nutrients more easily; however, you may not get all the nutrients and advantages from the meals you are eating.
What Causes Midnight Snacking?
If the food you’re eating is low in nutrients, eating large meals will be useless. Your body will eventually experience hunger.
Eating a lot of carbohydrates and sugar is not good for you because it deprives your body of necessary fibres, proteins, and healthy fats. Consuming healthy fibre can stabilize your blood sugar and help you feel fuller for longer.
If you don’t consume enough calories during the day; this may be the reason behind cravings at night. If you’re someone who just increased your physical activity, started a new training regimen or anything with high-to-moderate intensity for a longer time, it might be a reason behind feeling hungry at night.
If you are filling your stomach with extra meals and snacks, particularly at dinner, it can cause several issues. This trend is regularly observed when we are eating and feeling physically pleased but not all that contented, or if you just feel like having “two stomachs” or “nothing can fill my stomach.”
This one is more likely to affect you if you frequently consume your calories in the form of smoothies or if you have a restrictive eating pattern that restricts eating some of the macronutrients (carbs, protein, or fat).
It’s important to note that if you have moved your supper up in the schedule (to a later time of day); your body can mistakenly believe it’s time for breakfast in the middle of the night, which exactly explains why you feel hungry.
In that case, it is advisable to take a snack approximately 30 minutes before bedtime if this bothers you. You may also think about eating half of your meal at your regular time and the remaining half an hour or so later in the evening.
If the food you’re eating doesn’t contain sufficient nutrients, eating large meals is of little use. Eventually, your body will experience hunger.
Eating a lot of sugar and carbs is not good for you since your body won’t get enough protein, healthy fats, and fibre. More importantly, fibre can stabilize your blood sugar and help you feel fuller for longer by preventing blood sugar spikes.
Some hormonal changes might lead to midnight cravings. The body desires sugar and other junk foods when the hormones go out of whack. This can also be affected by factors including stress, menstruation, sadness, and anxiety, and cause food cravings at night
Irregular Meal Pattern
It is beneficial for the body and metabolism to follow a schedule for eating meals. Both the blood sugar levels, and the night-time hunger sensations can be controlled by it throughout the day.
If you don’t look after your body and provide it with a balanced diet, you may have late-night cravings; therefore, it’s the best to steer clear of harmful behaviours and replace them with more beneficial ones.
Last but not the least, make sure you keep hydrated throughout the day and rule out any possibility of dehydration.
You may not be getting enough liquids during the day, which frequently leads to sensations of hunger that make it harder for you to realize that you’re in fact thirsty.
What does midnight snacking do to your body?
According to studies, eating junk or unhealthy midnight snacks have several significant negative effects on your body, which are mentioned below:
Midnight snacks usually include unhealthy snacks that results in hypertension. You may fall ill or get into a major trouble.
It is the most common problem all around the world. WHO and health organization, including NGOs, are making efforts to create awareness about diabetes?
Nowadays, this disease can be transmitted to a new generation; so, diabetes has emerged as a challenge for generations. Late night snacks disrupt the blood sugar level and increase the risk of diabetes.
Another threat to our health is a high cholesterol level. People don’t understand the importance of this and at last face the consequences of obstruction in the heart vessels.
Unhealthy snacks are usually high in saturated fats that cause high blood cholesterol. It is essential to overcome this issue and to make it possible; you need to have a balanced diet along with exercise.
People with a late eating habit are also more inclined to make poor food decisions. If we give in to your impulses and make bad decisions, eating disorders may be a consequence. When you don’t get enough sleep, you often consume more-than-normal food, so it is a vicious cycle.
The primary danger of unhealthy midnight snacks is a higher calorie intake. The extra calories from late-night snacks are stored for hours in our bodies, which is why they might hasten the overall weight gain. Today, late-night hunger is a major reason behind weight gain.
Digestion and Constipation
Generally, body’s metabolism rate is slower at night. When we are in a stale position or not moving considerably, out metabolism slows down, and late-night hunger worsens the already low metabolic condition. You can’t break down the meal fast enough. You’re more likely to get sick if you have poor digestion and this situation can also cause constipation.
Are healthy snacks a good option?
Your day can be greatly affected by your snacking habit. If you have more than four to five hours between meals, Samantha Cassetty, M.S., RD advises that snacking can be a smart strategy to control your late-night hunger.
Your aim should be to include a combination of protein, fibre, and fat in your snack to keep you full between the meals.
You should avoid eating harmful snacks; so, you should keep healthy snacks with you. Before hunger hits, a person should prepare nutritious food, so eating unhealthily can be ruled out.
Keeping nutritious snacks in a bag or in the car can keep folks from being too hungry and turning to junk food as the only available alternative.
Healthy fruits, chopped veggies, cottage cheese, and whole grain crackers are a few simple snacks that you can keep with you.
The fact that these snacks are “healthy,” does not permit their excessive consumption. If you eat too much of them, you might still gain weight; therefore, when making healthy snacks and eating food in general, you should make it a habit to pay attention to portion size.
It is evident from the fact that eating nutritious snacks is incredibly advantageous to the body in many ways, which are mentioned above.
When you are in a hurry to go somewhere, preparing snacks ahead of time and storing them in the refrigerator can save time. It may also aid you in selecting the healthier snack over the less desirable ones.
As a result, you’ll eat more meals high in nutrients throughout the day, which will benefit your health. These nutritious snacks can aid in your body’s post-workout recovery, make you happier, and give you more energy for the rest of the day.
Snacks may be helpful in a diet in a few ways, such as by increasing nutritional consumption, maintaining energy levels, assisting the body’s recovery after exercise, and providing people with a wide variety of nutritious alternatives.
A person’s diet can be improved with the help of a few snacks. For instance, nutrient-dense meals can aid in achieving the required nutrient consumption levels.
Healthy food categories like fruits and vegetables are in short supply for common Americans. Oatmeal, fresh fruit with yogurt, tuna on healthy grain crackers, and freshly cut veggies are a few examples of snacks.
Consuming a snack 15-30 minutes after exercise helps refuelling your reserves of energy and recuperate muscles, but it should be protein-rich and have some carbohydrates, for example, a cheese stick and an apple are recommended.
Some yogurt, a banana, and peanut butter on toast are other foods that promote good recuperation and have necessary nutrients to offer.
Here are a few healthy snacks to add to your diet:
A great combination of protein, fibre, and healthy types of fat can be found in nuts, making them an excellent snack.
Unsalted seeds and nuts are nutritious snacks, which include walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, roasted pumpkin seeds, filberts, and hazelnuts are fibre-rich and likely to make a person feel satisfied.
Snacks made of whole grains might provide you with a sustainable source of energy. Consider whole-grain, low-salt tortilla chips or pretzels, or a bowl of high-fibre cereal.
Oatmeal, a wonderfully adaptable snack, may be eaten hot or cold, at home or on the road. Simply prepare some oats, but the portion size should be smaller than a meal.
When compared to other cereals, oats are more protein- and fibre-rich that offer several other benefits.
Fruits with Cheese and Peanut Butter
Peanut butter and apples are excellent together. Apples are fibre-rich and peanuts are protein-rich and have healthy fats, which satisfy when you feel hungry.
Fat and protein in cottage cheese and fibre-rich fruit create a creamy and filling snack. Tropical fruits, such as pineapple and cheese make a very tasty snack.
Many breakfast items may be consumed later in the day as a healthy snack. How about some low-sugar granola in a bowl of yogurt? Berries and plain Greek yogurt combine to provide a tasty and nutritious snack.
Berries are one of the finest antioxidant sources, while Greek yogurt is protein rich. To acquire a variety
of nutrients and a blend of their sweet and acidic tastes, add a variety of berries to your yogurt.
Eggs, Chocolates and Almonds
Dark chocolate and almonds make an excellent combination. Together, they form a delicious, easy-to-carry, and healthy snack.
Consider some dark chocolate, some chocolate chips, or some almonds. Moreover, one of the healthiest and most effective foods for weight loss is an egg.
Because they are high in protein, they are quite filling. Furthermore, hard-boiled eggs are a practical way to take a high-protein snack with you wherever you go.
To obtain crucial minerals like vitamin D and choline, you should consume the yolk.
Smoothie and Popcorns
When you want a big snack before your next meal, a protein smoothie might be a satisfying option. It provides a simple and practical means of increasing your protein consumption.
While there are many different protein powders available, you may experiment with Greek yogurt or silken tofu to increase the protein content of your smoothie.
A hearty 3-cup serving of popcorn has fewer than 100 calories and provides satisfying fibre. Olive oil, Parmesan cheese, or nutritional yeast are a few flavouring options.
Avocado and Leftovers
Due to their high fat and fibre content, avocados rank among the most nourishing and filling fruits. For a flavoured and tasty snack with fewer than 120 calories, salt and a dash of cayenne pepper should be sprinkled over half of a medium avocado.
In addition to this, having leftovers from a filling lunch or supper as a snack is a fantastic way to make use of them. You may quickly and easily have a full and well-balanced snack by consuming a smaller amount prior to a meal. Just remember to put your leftovers in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.
How to Prevent Late Night Hunger?
- Unusual Meal Routines: Eat at regular intervals around the same time. Throughout the day, maintaining stable blood sugar levels helps avoid the late-night appetite.
- King’s Meal: Make sure to eat a breakfast to start the day, and don’t be afraid to have a nutritious snack in between meals to maintain your blood sugar levels.
- Big Meals: Enjoy a reasonably large meal, and if you feel the need, think about having a quick snack two hours before bed.
- Health Diet Plan: A healthy carbohydrate and protein should be present in the snack, such as apple slices, celery sticks, or carrot sticks dipped in nut butter.
- Supper Time: If you routinely get hungry before going to bed, you might also think about adjusting the supper time. This will lessen the possibility of having a midnight hunger strike.
- Screening Time: The consumption of more food and thoughtless eating may be encouraged by screen time. The brain receives fewer fullness signals when eating in front of the TV or a mobile phone.
Before consuming late night snacks, think about yourself and ask these questions: Am I really famished? Do I need to drink water? Am I drowsy? Am I depressed? It’s acceptable to eat a snack if you are still hungry after ruling out all other possibilities.
Choose healthy late-night snacks that are high in protein and fibre, and eat mindfully, slowly, and in modest portions.
Choose entire meals to add nutrients to your day rather than heavily processed and less nutrient-dense items. If you want to control your weight, increase the amount of nutrients in your diet, and stay satisfied by consuming only the healthy options.