Why Is Late Night Eating Bad for You?
People often eat late at night for reasons other than hunger. You may be trying to satisfy cravings, to cope with boredom, to calm stress, or it may be a response to eating less during the daytime as dieters often do. Compensatory night eating often goes beyond satisfying hunger. The danger associated with eating later on in the evening is that the foods typically chosen are processed snack foods, high in salt, sugar and fat. It is also incredibly easy to “overdo it” and mindlessly consume several hundred or more calories, especially if you’re watching TV or a video. Many people with a late night eating habit also tend to consume very large quantities of food straight out of a family size bag or container. All these reasons explain why late night eating is often associated with weight gain.
Eating late at night can also make falling asleep or staying asleep more difficult, because of indigestion or reflux. The problem can also be cyclical with poor sleep quality or lack of adequate sleep a singular risk factor for excess eating and weight gain. You may have dulled inhibitions because you are drowsy, and more easily give into eating when not hungry, especially when tempting foods are easily accessible.
When you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight it’s a good habit to finish eating by 8 p.m. or within four hours of your regular sleep time. You can drink water, consume a calorie free beverage like tea, or if you are truly hungry have fruit or a small serving of yogurt.