Are late night snacks really that bad?
Fo many of us the whole idea and even ‘magic’ of late night snacks starts in childhood. Who remembers ‘Midnight Feats’? There was something so daring yet pleasurable about that! Then later in life, for many people, night time is their only truly free time after a long busy day at work and dealing with family and domestic commitments.
Unfortunately, free time can very easily turn into snack time unless you have a plan!
Do you sometimes sneak a late-night snack, even after having a big dinner? Or worse, do you find yourself binging at night? You are not alone!
Millions suffer from this devastating problem that can do so much more than lead to the extra kilo or two. It commonly leads to obesity, diabetes and depression!
Eating late at night predisposes you to weight gain and pre-diabetes. The body will store the extra calories as fat instead of processing and burning them.
What is the root cause of craving more sugar and junk late in the evening?
The main issue with night snacking is hormone imbalance and, in other cases, stress. These hormones are:
Insulin – produced to process the sugar in your diet. When insulin spikes then crashes after eating sugar and flour or junk, you will get hungry.
Leptin – the brake on your appetite. When you eat a lot of sugar and processed foods, leptin doesn’t work anymore.
Ghrelin – “hunger hormone” helps regulate your appetite.
Cortisol – When you are stressed, cortisol levels go up; you get hungrier and your blood sugar and insulin levels rise. This sets the stage for a vicious cycle of pre-diabetes or insulin resistance.
How to get these hormones in balance?
Below are the steps you should take to stop the night time binges:
1. Eat regularly – Have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you want a snack in between, that’s fine, but make sure you eat at regular rhythms and regular times.
2. Have protein and good-quality fat at every meal.
3. Soothe the stress: Stress makes you overeat; relaxing makes you thin. Find your pause button and de-stress.
4. Prioritize sleep to avoid hunger and craving carbs and sugar.
5. Find your food sensitivities: you often crave the thing you’re allergic or sensitive to like gluten and dairy – the biggest triggers for food sensitivity.
6. Supplement to cut cravings: Omega-3 fats, Vitamin D and Chromium.
7. Eat dinner 2 hours before bed. Your body only needs 1-2 hours to digest a meal
8. Rid your house of the junk food. When it is not available, you will not give in.
9. Wait ten minutes. Cravings generally pass within a short amount of time.
10. Have a cup of herbal peppermint tea. Peppermint has been shown to suppress appetite.
Even though we might be programmed to give into extra eating late at night, there are ways to stop late night cravings and not sabotage your weight loss goals and ongoing health. So when you suddenly feel an urge for a sugary bowl of cereal, a cheese sandwich or confectionary of some sort; pause, take a breath and remind yourself that you are being momentarily conned and misled and that you do not need this!
Read more from WatchFit Expert Jessica Faissal