Why snacking at night is bad for you
A little snack here, a quick bite there. Maybe some cookies or a bowl of ice cream before heading to bed. None of this can be that harmful, can it? According to new research, late-night eating causes people to gain more weight than eating throughout the day. The study found that the body tends to convert nighttime eating into fat instead of fuel, which it does during the day. This is true even when a person consumes the same foods with the same calorie content.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University tied this weight-gain phenomena to disruptions of the circadian clock, the body’s natural sleep and wakefulness cycles that control when you want to eat, sleep, exercise or perform other certain tasks. When a person disrupts their body clock, their metabolism is also affected. This could explain why night-shift workers have been found to have a higher risk of diabetes and obesity than people working a standard 9-to-5 schedule.
The scientists also found that when mice were made to be nocturnal—which disrupted their body clocks–the animals developed signs of insulin resistance, meaning their bodies didn’t respond to an increase in sugar, leading to fat gain. Insulin resistance in humans has been linked to diabetes and heart disease.
So, be careful with not just what you eat, but also when you eat it.