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Is there a downside to eating late at night, besides getting crumbs in your bed?
Hey there science cravers, Julian here for DNews. A lot of diet fads are very specific about what you should eat,
but hardly any of them talk about when you should eat.
That’s because for years now the conventional wisdom has basically been that
the overall number of calories you eat versus how many you burn is what’s important.
But a few studies have challenged this idea. One in 2013 published in the International Journal of Obesity
followed 420 obese or overweight adults who were trying to lose weight over 20 weeks.
Those who ate their largest meal before 3PM on average lost almost 2 kg more than those who ate after,
even if caloric intake and amount of exercise was the same.
But why should that be the case?
Well, it’s possible the same meal may be treated differently depending on where your body is in it’s circadian rhythm.
Yes, the 24 hour cycle that we usually just associate with our sleep schedule also has an effect on how our bodies absorb and digest food.
So, eating out of our normal rhythm can contribute to weight gain
according to Kelly Allison of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders.
Wow, that is one bloated title.
So what’s causing us to eat out of our regular rhythms? Society, man.
The way we work has caused a sort of social jet lag, where the time we have available to eat
doesn’t match the time it would be most ideal to eat.
We’re skipping breakfast more, and our meal times are becoming irregular as we focus on getting work done or picking up the kids from school.
We may actually be intentionally fighting the circadian rhythm,
when it causes cortisol and adrenaline to drop off around 3 PM. To stave off the sleepiness
some of us indulge in something high in sugar or fat.
According to Pamela Peeke, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine,
this will raise our insulin levels and we’ll crave sugar later.
Our circadian rhythm is at odds with our modern lifestyle in other ways too.
When we first evolved, food wasn’t readily available in refrigerators when we woke up.
So, it’s possible that as the day progresses, the food we eat is more apt to turn into fat.
So, the next day we have a convenient reserve of energy and we don’t have to worry about our first meal.
That’s the hypothesis of Steven Shea, director of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences.
Shea also noticed in his research that people tend to be hungrier later in a day,
possibly as part of this evolutionary adaptation. Combine that with the fact that since artificial light
we stay up later than ever and now have ready access to food, and the result is some people can’t resist a late night bite.
Furthermore, if you are grabbing food late at night, you’re more likely to make an unhealthy choice.
You might do it out of convenience, because it’s easier to grab a bag of chips than make a salad,
or you might do it out of mental exhaustion. If you’ve spent the whole day on your best dietary behavior,
late at night you’re more willing to let yourself slip,
or even reward yourself with something fatty, salty, sweet, and delicious.
Even the researchers who study this admit that chrononutrition is an underexplored topic, with few studies done so far and many of them relying on mice.
While the studies we’ve cited point to a link between late day eating and weight gain, plenty of others support the orthodox view that net calorie count is the most important factor.
Once again more research is needed.
I just hope it involves cake.
If you love food science and food in general click here now to check out our friends over at Eater.
So, sort of two strategies to reduce sodium intake. One would be to find a substitute enhancer. Another would be to ship the population down.
There is no molecule that tastes purely salty other than sodium chloride. And, another one lithium chloride,
but lithium chloride poison, so that is not a good salt substance. So, have you tried shifting your caloric intake to earlier in the day? How did that work out for you?
Let us know in the comment. Subscribe for more. And, I will see you next time on DNews.
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Is Eating Late At Night Really That Bad For You?

55519 Folder Collection
陳思源 published on September 1, 2016    陳美瑩 translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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