Why You Should Avoid Snacking or Eating Too Late
A recent study by MIT concluded eating a heavy meal or snacking on too much of the wrong foods can definitely lead to weight gain.
Other factors to consider are what and how much you eat if you’re inclined to eat late at night. Your caloric input should not exceed your total daily requirement. Even if you think it doesn’t affect your weight, eating late can cause sleep problems most people may not associate with food.
If you eat something heavy that takes time to digest before you go to bed, instead of your body going into rest mode, it goes into digestion mode and spends energy trying to process that cheeseburger you just ate a 9:00 pm. That can be a definite factor in insomnia. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t even lay down for at least two hours after eating. Why? Because your body digests and absorbs food more efficiently when you’re in an upright position. Improper digestion can lead to a myriad of heath issues. These can include GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) aka heartburn. It can also raise your risk for a stroke or heart disease, according to WebMD.
How Much and What Counts
How much you eat at night is as important as what you eat. As the old adage states, eat like a King for breakfast, a Prince for lunch and a Pauper for dinner. The more time your body has to digest and absorb nutrients and calories from your food, the more benefits you’ll receive from what it is you are eating. Afterall, food isn’t just something you enjoy. It’s something you eat to stay alive and hopefully healthy. That’s why food choices are equally as important as quantities. A balanced diet is a personal choice. Different people have different requirements. There are general guidelines you can follow, however, to give yourself an idea of what your body needs. These daily requirements are on the back of most food packages and can also be found online at health.gov.
Age Factors In
Age is also a factor in what’s important to your daily nutritional intake. The older we get, the less calories we require, especially if slowing down in activity is a factor. That’s why most seniors opt to dine during the “early bird specials” at restaurants. Have you ever noticed how much cheese and bread and fattening foods the French eat? In most European countries, lunch is the biggest meal of the day. That’s how they can eat fattening foods and still stay thin. They burn it off well before bedtime. Even if you’re young and very active and healthy, choose wisely what you eat before bed. You can still run the risk of developing health issues as you get older.
The Light Side
If you find you do need to have a snack before bedtime, choose something that’s light and easy to digest. Crackers or a bowl of cereal will have far less consequences than a late-night bologna and cheese sandwich. Some people are under the false impression that if they eat late, they can work out before bedtime to burn it off. That’s also another mistake. Working out increases your metabolic rate and bedtime is the time you need to wind that down, not up. If you find you did eat too late and know it’s going to keep you awake or worse, experts advise sitting in certain Yoga positions for 30-minutes or less to aid in quicker digestion.