Beware! Late night meals can increase your weight . Eating the last meal of the day before 7 p.m. could help you stay in better health.
It could be the delicious smells coming from the neighbor’s apartment or the boredom that sets in as Orange is the New Black buffers — yet again — but there’s something about the late-night hours that have most of us reaching for snacks.
“We know from our sleep loss studies that when you’re sleep deprived, it negatively affects weight and metabolism in part due to late night eating, but now these early findings, which control for sleep, give a more comprehensive picture of the benefits of eating earlier in the day,” said lead author of the ongoing study Namni Goel, Research Associate Professor, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.
At night, people are more likely to eat starchy, calorie-filled foods like ice cream and pizza, which can contribute to weight gain.
“Eating later can promote a negative profile of weight, energy, and hormone markers – such as higher glucose and insulin, which are implicated in diabetes, and cholesterol and triglycerides, which are linked with cardiovascular problems and other health conditions,” Goel said.
In the study, nine healthy weight adults underwent two conditions, one of daytime eating (three meals and two snacks between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.) for eight weeks and another of delayed eating (three meals and two snacks eating from noon to 11 p.m.) for eight weeks.
There was a two-week washout period between conditions to make sure there was no carry over effect. The sleep period was held constant, between 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. The team found that when participants ate later, compared to the daytime condition, weight increased.
Respiratory quotient — the ratio of carbon dioxide produced by the body to oxygen consumed by the body that indicates which macronutrients are being metabolised — also rose during the delayed eating condition, indicating later eating led to metabolising fewer lipids and more carbs.
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