Research, Technology

What happens to the body if you eat before bed?

It's no secret that eating before bed is bad.for good health. Every year, this claim is reinforced by new evidence - as the results of numerous scientific studies have shown, late night snacking is associated with weight gain and an increased risk of obesity. Late dinner also disrupts sleep, increasing the risk of developing not only cardiovascular disease, but also chronic fatigue, diabetes and eating disorders. Experts advise avoiding foods that excite the nervous system of the body, in particular chocolate, spices and coffee, as disturbing and interrupted sleep negatively affect the functioning of the body. And, as the authors of a recent study published in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism found, night eaters change many of the physiological and molecular mechanisms that contribute to weight gain. Moreover, a late dinner has a strong effect on hunger and appetite.

Eating late at night is not a good idea. A new experiment shows why


  • 1 How are late dinners and sleep related?
  • 2 What foods should not be eaten before bed?
  • 3 Late dinner and excess weight
  • 4 Diet, sleep and health

How are late dinners and sleep related?

Despite dietary advice,a huge number of people prefer not to eat after 19:00 or at least a couple of hours before bedtime, but not a few of those who dine in bed. For example, in Spain and Italy, a late dinner is considered the norm, which is facilitated by a busy work schedule. Unfortunately, this kind of food can be harmful to your health.

Results of previous studiesestablished a link between late dinner and obesity, which prompted experts to study the change in metabolism depending on the time of eating. This is due to the fact that late dinner has an impact on energy expenditure and appetite, contributing to weight gain.

Late Dinner and Snacking Contribute to Obesity and Health Problems

The habit of eating at night while looking also leads tosleep problems, indigestion, heartburn and slow metabolism. What you eat and how much depends on the quality of sleep and the work of circadian rhythms - the biological clock that sets the rhythm for all vital processes in the body.

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Previous studies have also shown thateating late is associated with increased body fat and difficulty in losing weight. Nutritionists recommend waiting about three hours between your last meal and bedtime due to the release of insulin, a hormone that helps food be converted into energy. This process can lead to disruption of the circadian rhythm and subsequent insomnia.

What foods should not be eaten before bed?

One of the most serious problems of the devastatedin the middle of the night the contents of the refrigerator, are the problems of the gastrointestinal tract. For this reason, researchers advise avoiding heartburn-inducing foods such as spicy foods, alcohol, chocolate, and citrus fruits due to their potential to cause heartburn and reflux.

Alcohol may cause drowsiness at first, but this quickly subsides. significantly worsening the quality of sleep and can lead to (or exacerbate) sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing. You should also avoid carbonated and energy drinks, coffee and tea.

To stay healthy longer, eat dinner about three hours before bedtime.

But do not be upset - some productscontain useful substances that can improve the quality of sleep. A 2015 paper published in the journal Nutrients showed that a small snack (150 calories or less) can be beneficial for metabolism. For example, a glass of warm milk before bed has a calming effect and helps you relax.

Read even more interesting articles about the benefits of healthy eating and sleep on our channel in Yandex.Zen - articles that are not on the site are regularly published there!

You can also avoid health problems by including turkey and / or pork steaks in the evening diet, as they contain a large amount of tryptophan an essential amino acid that is involved inprotein metabolism and promotes the production of serotonin (hormone of joy) and melatonin (hormone of sleep). Some foods, such as cherries, also contain small amounts of melatonin. But for everything to work correctly, dinner must be scheduled about three hours before bedtime.

Late dinner and overweight

In a study recently published inin the journal Cell Metabolism, a team of scientists analyzed the mechanisms behind why eating late leads to obesity. The researchers relied on assessing changes in satiety and hunger, as well as how the body stores fat and burns calories.

Together, these changes may explain why eating late is associated with the increased risk of obesity reported by other studies.

Eating while lying down increases the risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

To track the body's response to latefood intake in the study involved 16 subjects with a high body mass index (BMI) (indicates obesity). During the experiment, the researchers controlled the participants' regimen by adding exercise, sleep, and light exposure to their daily schedule. The only difference was What time do students have breakfast, lunch, and dinner?: the first group had breakfast at about eight in the morning, and the second at noon. Both groups ate three meals a day, about four hours apart (after each meal).

So that changes in the work of the body do not harmhealth, participants adhered to the same sleep and wake times two to three weeks before the start of the study and ate the same food for three days. Each day, the subjects were asked to rate their appetite, hunger, and response to their favorite treats. In addition to blood samples, adipose tissue samples were taken from the subjects to assess how fat accumulates in the body (a process called adipogenesis).

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The results obtained showed that the subjectsThe first group (who ate breakfast earlier) felt full longer due to hormonal changes associated with appetite. The likelihood that participants in the second group (who had breakfast at noon) were more likely to experience hunger during the day.

It is better to refuse night dates with a refrigerator

Participants in the second group experienced increasedappetite and desire to eat more, and also preferred meat, salty and starchy foods. In addition, subjects from the second group burned fewer calories throughout the day than participants from the first group, the study says.

To track how the body accumulates fat,the team turned their attention to genes associated with the breakdown and accumulation of fat in the body. The results showed that late dinner suppresses several genes responsible for lipid breakdown is the most important source of energy of all nutrients.

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Diet, sleep and health

The results of the study also showed thatLate dinner has a strong effect not only on appetite, but also on the hormones that regulate it - leptin and ghrelin. Note that these findings are consistent with a large number of previous studies suggesting that late eating contributes to obesity and adversely affects health.

Health is more important than momentary pleasure

Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a beggar - proverb

Fortunately, bad habits can be broken -the researchers advise thinking about simple changes you can make to your schedule and diet. At the same time, you should not go to bed on an empty stomach, as it can lead to problems with falling asleep. But if cravings in the middle of the night seem unbearable, opt for foods high in protein and fiber, as well as a glass of warm milk.