If you have dinner late at night and go to bed less than three hours later, you will most likely suffer from an acid reflux which could manifest in swallowing difficulties, cough and unexplained nasal drip.
Acid reflux can occur without indigestion or heartburn.
If you want to nip in the bud, then you simply need to change your lifestyle by trying to eat dinner earlier. Eating dinner late at night and going to bed almost immediately is a recipe for acid reflux.
Eating late at night can be harmless, except on occasions when you eat particular foods or excessive amounts. It’s best to consume most of your calories in the day when it will help boost your energy levels, overall wellness and appetite control.
If you’re going to eat late at night, make sure it’s nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits or whole grains.
Below are the reasons you should avoid eating late at night :
If you’re hungry during the late evening hours, it’s best to go for a healthy snack before going to bed. Foods like oatmeal with low fat milk will do. Avoid large and spicy foods which can disrupt sleep and cause discomfort.
Also avoid foods that contain fluids like milkshakes and soup as they could make you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
Also avoid caffeinated beverages and foods like energy drinks, chocolate, coffee and various energy-boosting diet foods can make it difficult to fall asleep which would potentially make you groggy the next day.
As much as we think eating late at night directly causes weight gain, it does. It is eating specific foods at night that may contribute to weight gain. For example, eating ice cream and chips which are dense in calories and low in nutrients may lead to weight gain, especially if eaten at night in large portions. If you then try to restrict calories the next day to compensate, the cycle is likely to repeat itself and lead to even more weight gain.
Eating foods high in calories at night is great if you’re underweight because of reduced appetite, illness or medical treatment. If that’s the case, then go for healthy foods rich in calories like cheese, nuts, avocado and ditch the over processed snack foods.
Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a common condition in which stomach acid finds it way back into your oesophagus after eating. It often comes with heartburn or a tight, burning pain in your mid or lower chest.
If acid refluxes are mild, they should not be a cause for alarm but if they become recurrent then it could be a case of chronic digestive disorder or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Laying down right after eating may trigger an acid reflux. Other things that could trigger this is overeating, eating acidic foods or eating greasy and high-fat foods. Therefore, it’s best to avoid late night eating if you’re prone to heartburn or acid reflux.
When people eat more in the evening, they have higher markers of inflammation. In one study , for each ten percent increase in the proportion of total calories consumed between 5 pm and midnight, there was a 3 percent increase in C-Reactive protein, a major marker of inflammation in the body.
Impairments in blood sugar regulation
The ability of your body to use insulin in the control of blood sugar changes all through the day and is least efficient at night. Glucose levels after meals are highest when meals are consumed late in the day.
Workers who have shifts show reduced blood sugar control when eating at night.
According to researchers, you should avoid meals that have a high glycemic index in the evenings as they could have negative effects and increased disease risk associated with high blood sugar
Elevated triglycerides and cholesterol
Eating out of sync with our circadian rhythm can impact the way the body metabolizes lipids. This can lead to increased levels of both triglycerides and cholesterol.
According to a recent research, your memory could be affected by late eating. A study was carried out on mice. These mice were fed meals during the time they should have been sleeping and it was found that there were deficits in memory and learning.
It Is Linked To Eating Disorders
If you find that you’re craving a bedtime snack every night, then it could mean that you may have NES (night eating syndrome). In cases like this, you may not even be hungry, you just crave something to eat.
According to studies, this has been linked with eating disorders like binge eating.
Ways to avoid late night eating or binging
• Eat a huge breakfast and moderate lunch
• Be sure to eat a satiating meal before 7
• If you’re going to eat late at night, make sure you’re eating nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
• Try not to watch TV while eating, according to studies, it could trigger the desire for more food.
• Make a new habit where you have to take a brisk walk after dinner.
Foods To Eat Late At Night
Sometimes despite all the calming and relaxing, you still crave a snack. This is very common when your circadian rhythm is thrown off. Like when you’re pulling late night hours at work or have spent long hours traveling and commuting back home. When your stomach is rumbling from real hunger, it can feel impossible to fall off to sleep. And you should always eat something when you are actually hungry…regardless of the time. But, what foods should you eat late at night when hungry? It’s very important to go for a light snack that’s no more than 100-200 calories. Refrain from eating anything spicy, sugary or caffeinated. Some good examples are:
• Half an apple
• A piece of grilled chicken
• Couple of crackers with a tablespoon of hummus
• Half a banana with a teaspoon or peanut butter
• Handful of nuts
• A hard-boiled egg
• Mashed up avocado on crisp bread
• Small bowl of chopped up fruit like papaya or melon with cottage cheese.
Don’t forget to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly before you go to bed!