Hunger does not depend on the time of day and can sometimes overtake late at night. Instead of going to bed, we go to the refrigerator. Ice cream or chips can saturate and bring pleasure, and in the morning there is a feeling of guilt for the night eaten. But that doesn't mean starving, nutritionists interviewed by HuffPost say .
A number of scientists agree that the deposition of fat is influenced not only by the calorie content of dishes, but also by the time of day, although this theory has not yet been fully investigated.
Can i eat before bed?
According to the representative of the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Jonathan Valdez, the last meal should be a couple of hours before bedtime so that the food has time to digest. Night is the time when the body slows down its metabolism, and this is the main reason for choosing light meals in the evening. And it's not just a matter of possible fat deposition. If your body doesn’t have time to digest food before you go to bed, it will negatively affect your sleep.
Feeling hungry late at night can be a signal that you're not eating well enough during the day, says nutritionist Amy Gorin. She recommends eating or snacking every 3-5 hours and being more careful with your breakfast. It should be high in calories, with adequate fiber and protein. Care should be taken to ensure that other meals are also balanced and provide the body with sufficient fuel. Gorin believes that snacks should not be neglected, because they are suitable for quick snacks at work and help not to overeat with the subsequent full meal. The main thing is to have a snack when you really want to eat.
Nutritionist Alisa Ramsey insists that when you feel hungry you should definitely eat - no matter what time of day. At the same time, she notes that the desire to eat something late in the evening does not always come from our stomach. Often a night snack is the body's response to stress, emotional distress, habit, or even boredom. Ramsey calls for a mindful approach to nutrition and each time asking the question: is this really physical hunger?
At the same time, experts note that it is difficult, but important, to recognize the hunger resulting from an emotional outburst and cope with it. Gorin advises in this case to replace the snack with a walk or light workout. According to Ramsey, it is imperative to work with "emotional" hunger and try to eliminate the cause of stress. Or at least try to switch from eating to something that can cheer you up, like watching a comedy.
What foods can be eaten at night
Nutritionist Rebecca Ditkoff suggests combating non-physical hunger with a special drink: add turmeric and cinnamon to herbal tea or almond milk. If the body really needs a late night snack, the expert recommends using protein foods, such as half a glass of Greek yogurt combined with healthy fats (1/4 cup nuts or a quarter of an avocado) and smart carbohydrates (whole grains high in fiber)).
If you're hungry before bed, try to find healthy fats and smart carbs. © Rawpixel / Unsplash
Pay special attention to carbohydrates, because they promote the production of insulin, which, in turn, helps tryptophan increase the level of melatonin in the brain. This leads to rapid falling asleep and sound sleep. The combination of carbohydrates and protein helps to reduce the levels of hormones that cause hunger, and the body remains full until waking, says Ramsey.
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Valdez believes that the main ingredient for satisfying hunger is protein. When you want something sweet, you can mix natural yogurt with peanut butter or apple slices. The list of healthy snacks, according to the doctor, also includes nut mixes, cheese sticks, meat and fish chips, and a glass of warm milk.
Ramsey also recommends snacking on the nut mixture, and suggests doing it yourself. Dried fruits (a source of carbohydrates and natural sugar) and pistachios (rich in protein and fiber) are best suited for this. The nutritionist recommends avoiding caffeinated foods before bed: tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, and chocolate.
Nut mix is a good night snack © Sweetlouise / Pixabay
As a snack, experts suggest using crispbreads with a teaspoon or tablespoon of nut butter. For a quick snack, natural or grainy cottage cheese is also suitable. Before bed, you can eat cherries (which contain melatonin), almonds, cashews, and pecans (a lot of magnesium helps to relax the body), Ditkoff says. She also recommends avoiding caffeine and avoiding spicy and fatty foods at night, which can lead to indigestion and ruin sleep.
Nutritionists warn that you should be careful when eating at night. This advice applies to all meals, but in the evening we often eat while watching TV, and in this case, the focus is on the screen, not the body. If you do not listen to your body, you can overeat, which will lead not only to excess weight, but also to sleep disorders. So in the evening we need to be especially careful about what we eat, and be sure to monitor the portion size.
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