How many times have you found yourself in the kitchen at 1:00 AM making a healthy meal? Never?! Same here. If you’re like most late-night eaters, you probably reach for chips or jump into your car for a quick fast food run. There’s something about those middle-of-the-night munchies that tempt taste buds to be bad. And while junk food may hit the spot late at night, it can affect the body’s circadian rhythm—the internal time-keeping machine. The body needs regular sleep and eating schedules to keep it in sync, and when we eat late at night, we’re throwing the body’s clocks off kilter. This results in out-of-whack blood pressure, out-of-whack hunger hormones, and out-of-whack blood sugar, which can result in weight gain as well at diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Late night eating can also increase the risk of heartburn.
Studies have shown that people who ate earlier in the day, and who ate big breakfasts, were more successful at losing weight than late night eaters. If you’re trying to stop late night binging but find yourself rummaging around in the kitchen out of habit try reaching for a protein-packed snack such as raw vegetables and guacamole, yogurt, cottage cheese, or tomatoes. These may not sound as tasty as BBQ chips or pizza, but in the long run, your body will thank you for the healthier food choices.