The Effects Of Eating Late At Night

Posted by on September 13, 2008 at 4:37 am

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, however for most of us, the evening meal tends to be out largest and most substantial meal of the day. Over and over we hear advice on how we should keep this meal moderately small and keep the large portions for the morning, when we need energy the most, but often this is just not practical. Instead, after a long, hard day at work, most of us crave the carbohydrates and protein portions of a big evening meal, regardless of the time of night this ends up being.

Society today tends to be one which revolves around the ever expanding commitments of work and social lives. We seem to get home later, after longer hours at work or with far more extra activities squeeze into the one twenty-four hour block. This often leads to many people getting home after dark and having no choice but to prepare their dinner late. By the time we arrive home from work, prepare the meal and get ourselves organized, it is well beyond the recommended time we should be eating.Eating late at night often gives our bodies less time to digest our food. Instead of having all day to burn off the energy during our waking hours, we are closer to the time of going to bed, and this does not really give the body a chance to completely break down what we have consumed. This may in turn lead to the body storing the excess energy as fat and over a long period of time, eating late at night may result in weight gain.

The other big problem with eating late at night is you do not burn off energy like you would during the day. During the day we are usually busy with our working lives, moving around and getting unplanned spouts of exercise from our daily activities. We may have to walk to a bus stop, deliver documents to different levels of a building or other various actions that result in the burning of energy. For the meals consumed in the morning and during the day, we are able to burn off the energy and providing you eat relatively healthy portions, the energy we burn and the energy we eat tends to even out.

At night we are not generally active. We come home, eat our meal and most of us may sit down for the rest of the night, watching the evening television programs or reading a book. We are unlikely to burn a great deal of energy, therefore if we have eaten a heavy dinner, it is highly likely we are ending up with more energy than we can burn, which will end up storing in the body as fat.

The other bad habit many of us have is snacking at night, often around the time we might normally go to bed. It is often tempting to grab a bag of chips or a packet of chocolate biscuits to snack on during our favourite television show or movie. This results in us consuming far more energy than we might on a normal day, and our bodies are simply not used to it.

Overall, it is suggested eating late at night is not ideal. If possible you should keep your evening meal small, and lean, and aim for bigger meals during the day, when we need the energy most. It is also ideal to aim to have dinner earlier in the evening, if this is possible, so that it gives the body more time to digest. And if the late night hunger pangs hit, try to snack on healthy snacks, like fruit or plain popcorn, which are low in fat and will not sit in the stomach overnight unable to digest properly. In the end we must look after our bodies, as we only have one and need to make the most of healthy living.

by Holly Rogers

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