26 August 10 The Late-Night Snack Attack

Late-night refrigerator raids have plagued healthy eaters for decades. If you have ever faced the soft glow and cool air of an open fridge after midnight, here are a few tips to help you win your next battle.

Who hasn't had a great day of healthful eating that gets sabotaged by a bowl of ice cream or a bag of chips while channel-flipping on the couch? There are a few reasons late-night snacking suddenly sounds like a good idea:

  • Too much daytime restriction - if you had an extra-low calorie day, your body may actually be hungry.
  • That "Can't Have" curse - sometimes our minds make us want more what we've told it it can't have.
  • Boredom - if you're up late with nothing to do, eating often sounds like an acceptable activity.

While only you know if you have any calories left in your food diary for that day, and that should determine whether or not you can afford a late-night snack, there is at least one study that suggests what time of the day we eat can contribute to weight gain.

In 2009, Northwestern University released the first study that said weight gain and loss is not only influenced by calories in and calories out, but meal timing also plays a large role. Specifically, the study suggests that if people eat late at night, when the body is ready for sleep, it could lead to more significant weight gain. This has to do with how the body regulates energy based on its circadian rhythms. In a study of mice, those that were fed high-fat diets during normal sleeping hours gained more than twice the amount of weight than mice fed the same diet during daytime hours.

To stave off the call of the fridge, there are a few tricks that can help you. First, late-night snacks tend to be high-fat, high-calorie foods. Plant a few quick healthy snacks in your refrigerator and/or bring fewer of these high-calorie temptations into your home to begin with. Second, be aware that snacking while watching TV can lead to over-eating. If you want chips, don't bring the whole bag to the couch. Put your serving in a bowl and enjoy them slowly. If you're just bored, pick up a good book or get on the MyNetDiary forum and post what's on your mind.

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Tags:

Meal Planning & Diets/Snacks Other Health Issues/Sleep

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