6 Unexpected Effects Of Eating Late At Night Without Weight Gain

Along with the socio-economic growth, people become more active, dynamic and busier. Nowadays, for many people, 24 hours a day is not enough for studying and working. Therefore, they have the tendency to eat after they have done everything which means they have meals at night. Besides, there are also many people who love having a snack at night. As we all know, this habit does not good for our health. One bad effect of eating at night or before going to bed that we know commonly is weight gain[1]. However, eating late not only makes you fat but also results in other serious health problems. Therefore, today on Effective Remedies, we will present you some consequences of eating at night, even you have a big meal or just some snack. It is time to change your lifestyle by following the good habits for health, especially control the time and the food you consume.

6 Unexpected Effects of Eating Late without Weight Gain

I. Negative Effects of Eating Late

effects of eating late - negative effects of eating late

1. Heart Disease

Many studies show the relationship between night meals and heart disease. According to the researchers from Dokuz Eylül University, among 700 adults with high blood pressure, participants who ate dinner within two hours of going bed suffered from high blood pressure which did not drop sufficiently overnight[2]. Therefore, this study concluded that eating dinner at night could increase the risk of a heart attack. The problem of eating at night is not about the food we eat, but about the time we have meals. The Heart surgeon A. Marc Gillinov, MD explained that if we eat during normal waking hours, the food will be metabolized more quickly and our liver, muscles, and other tissues have time to absorb the fats, lipids, and cholesterol. Nevertheless, at the time that we should sleep, if we eat, we create a chance for the fats to hang around longer in our blood than they are supposed to. Therefore, our heart and our other organs as well will be damaged[3]. To support that we should avoid the night meals, a study done by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania claimed that eating late at night has link to higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels which are types of fat found in your blood that can increase the risk of heart disease[4].

2. Sleep Disorders

People usually think that stress or lack of sleep can lead to nightmares. Besides, according to the National Sleep Foundation, eating before bed is also blamed for causing nightmares[5]. The reason is that eating before bedtime can raise your metabolism, so the brain becomes more active and nightmares happen. To support this argument, a study in 2015 of Tore Nielsen and Russell Powell asking almost 400 university students showed that late night snacking is the reason for gastrointestinal discomfort which makes them find it difficult to fall asleep[6]. Moreover, the Havard Medical School proved that a large meal, especially a meal with a high amount of carbohydrate, could cause night sweats because the body had to metabolize the food which made the body feel hot. Lying down with a full stomach causes gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). These symptoms may wake you up[7]. Another study from the researchers of Brazil's Universidade Federal de São Paulo about the time we eat concluded that having meals near bedtime may lead to disruptions to healthy sleep patterns[8].

3. Acid Reflux

Due to the eating disorder, acid reflux becomes a popular issue. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, since 2008, up to 60% of the population at some time yearly, and 20 to 30% weekly have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux, such as heartburn and acid regurgitation[9]. Eating late at night can cause the acid reflux because going to sleep while the stomach is still full makes food leak into your esophagus, leading to acid reflux, according to physician Jamie Koufman[10]. He also advised his patients to eat dinner before 7 p.m, and not eat at all after work and within six weeks, his reflux disappeared.

4. Feeling Of Hungrier In The Next Day

Making you feel hungrier the next morning is also one of the negative effects of eating late at night. Stephen Christensen – who received his medical degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine and has written health-related articles since 1976 – indicated that eating at bedtime, especially meals rich in sugars and other simple carbohydrates made you have higher insulin surge from your pancreas. During the night, the release of counter-regulatory hormones is promoted by a continual drop in blood glucose, resulting in stimulation of the appetite centers, thus you will feel hungrier in the next morning if you do not wake up to eat in the middle of the night[11]. That is the reason why you tend to eat more and cannot control your weight.

5. Memory

Eating at irregular hours – such as at night – badly affects the memory. The researchers from the University of California divided the mice (nocturnal animals) into 2 groups: group 1 was fed during the day and group 2 was fed at night. After 2 weeks, they found that the mice fed during the day had less ability to distinguish new objects and create long-term memories[12].

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6. Cancer

According to the researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, people who usually eat after 9 p.m and less than 2 hours before bedtime have 25% more likely to get the breast and prostate cancers cancer[13]. They also pointed out that people who waited at least two hours before going to bed had a lower risk (20%) of breast and prostate cancer. Moreover, it is easy to gain weight due to eating at night and overweight is the cause of the higher risk of many types of cancer such as liver cancer, kidney cancer, etc. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, about 630,000 people in the U.S had cancer due to overweight and obesity. The rates of cancer related to obesity, not including colorectal cancer, increased by 7% from 2005 to 2014[14]. The reason is that obese people often have chronic low-level inflammation, which can damage ADN leading to cancer[15].

II. How To Avoid Eating Late At Night

effects of eating late - how to avoid eating late at night

Although many people know that they should avoid eating at night, they cannot stop this habit. According to MIT Medical[16], before you eat at night, you should apply the method H.A.L.T which means that it is essential to ask yourself whether you are physically hungry. If the answer is no, ask yourself again about the reason why you decide to eat at night, is this your habit or are you feeling anxious, angry, lonely, or tired? If you tend to eat not because you are hungry, it is possible that you eat more calories than your body needs.

In case you really want to eat, you should avoid the convenience snacks which are high in fat and sugar and low in nutrition. Instead, choose the small meals to eat as following:

  • A small box of whole grain cereal with fat-free or 1% low‐fat milk
  • A carton of low‐fat yogurt sprinkled with high‐fiber cereal
  • A small dish of fresh fruit
  • Etc

It is better to control your body and wait for the next day instead of eating at night. According to a famous dietitian, you must finish your last big meal of the day at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime[17].

You should try to distract yourself from the feeling of hungry such as read books or do something you like. Besides, unhealthy food should not be stored in the house.

If you feel that you are eating at irregular hours and you cannot change your habit, maybe you have problems related to the eating time. It is time to see the doctor to ask for advice and treat the disease if you have.

To sum up, we hope that this article gives you interesting and useful information about the negative effects of eating late at night. Besides making you fat, nighttime eating also causes a higher risk of heart disease, sleep disorders, acid reflux, cancer, the feeling of hungrier in the next morning and decline in memory. Therefore, from now, you should stop this bad activity and start living in a healthy way which includes having a healthy diet, drinking enough water, sleeping enough, and maintaining stress. All content provided is for informational & educational purposes. Moreover, the health condition of each person is different. Therefore, we recommend you consult a healthcare professional to check your health and have a reasonable diet, even to cure your diseases related to eating at irregular hours if you have.

Please share your opinion and ask any questions about our topic today in the comment box below. We are always welcome your comments in order to improve our content. In addition, if you want to know more about the information about taking care of your health, please visit the News And Facts page.

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