You are allowed to snack late night on the odd occasion. If you find yourself in the kitchen too often in the late night hours devouring some sweet, salty or carb-rich food in the absence of any real time hunger, then you must pay heed to what the health experts are saying.
Late night snacking leads to the accumulation of calories that are specifically infamous for their tendency to add to the risk of developing a chronic disease as diabetes and obesity than the calories consumed in the early hours of the day. The number of calories and the time of their consumption are the latest buzzes in the nutritional field. Observations from studies on weight loss are showing that individuals who are in the habit of eating later in the 24-hour period tend to lose less weight and lose it more slowly than their counterparts.
Our body has its own circadian rhythm that follows the biological clock as regards to metabolism, the release of hormones, sleep patterns and so on. Our body is supposed to be resting at night so what prompts us to have a late night snack, that may be disturbing enough to interrupt our sleep too. Nutritionists and dietitians usually describe some of the following reasons they observe in subject cases.
1. Nutritional debt
The primary reason for late night snacking is that you are not receiving the appropriate quantity or quality of nutrients. This can take the form of macronutrient deficiency (quality), either proteins or carbohydrates or simply skipping on meals throughout the day (quantity). So you are basically hungry with your body either craving the specific macronutrient or trying to fill in the required calories.
Completing the count on two to three basic meals with a midday snack should help you avoid searching your pantry in the night.
2. Emotional expel
It is simply my comfort food; you must have heard yourself saying this many times. Resorting to food holds true for many of us when we are emotionally down. The emotional downpour may be due to some stress at workplace, a stressed relationship or a simple tiring routine; it all leads to a raised level of stress hormone, the cortisol, which stimulates mindless eating.
Experts advise to take note of the situation you are faced with and all you might need is a simple walk or some meditation instead of a chocolate bar.
3. Imbalanced blood sugar levels
Improper eating habits at improper timings often lead to consumption of unbalanced proportions of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. This creates havoc through our blood sugar profiles especially when such a situation is catered with simple sugars in the form of processed food.
The authority on this issue suggests including complex carbohydrates with an obligatory protein and fat portions with a no-skip attitude with meals.
4. A late afternoon coffee session
If you are in the habit of taking your tea or coffee late in the afternoon, this will crash your blood sugars, which will not only disturb your sleep pattern but also send you searching for a late night snack.
Try bringing your coffee break within 3 PM time zone.
5. A sweet tooth craving
Nutritional experts believe that you crave a late night sweet tooth because of a sweet indulgence in the afternoon as well as skipping on essential carbohydrates during the day. The latter usually happens with individuals on diet; they skip their necessary carbohydrates in the evening meal and crave a sugary treat afterward.
A protein-rich snack, for example, Greek yogurt with fruits or simple Stevia, enables you to pass the late night hours without an unwanted craving.
6. Breaching the alcohol limit
Consumption of beverages like liquor, wine or beer in a regular pattern affects the sleep patterns, making you lie awake in the night. It stimulates the hunger and sugary cravings when you have nothing else to do.
Limit yourself to few drinks per week, going alcohol-free on more nights.
7. Limitless screen time
If you were spending more time on screens as your cells, laptops or simple television, it would prompt you to munch a few extra calories even when you do not need them. Screen time beyond any limits causes a sleep debt that plays with your hormones including the ones involved in your eating patterns.
What to do. Set a limit to your screen time and sleep because it is what your body actually craves and not the extra nibbles.