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How to avoid late-night eating

Mitch Felipe Mendoza

ANN – Do you start your day with a positive vibe, a healthy breakfast, and an energy-booster workout, but find it challenging to control eating late at night?

Most people can perform well during the day when it comes to eating and exercise, but struggle to address some lifestyle issues late at night.

Eating behaviours later in the day should be given more attention to, especially at this time (while we are experiencing the negative health effects brought about by the pandemic) for long-lasting weight control and health management.

I discussed in my previous article the best time to exercise that can match your goals, lifestyle and body type. In the latter part, I mentioned eating most of your calories during the earlier part of your day and avoiding food intake close to bedtime.

This week, I will focus on strategies to avoid late-night eating so you can avoid health issues and continue to achieve your fitness and weight goals.

A 2020 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that eating late at night may contribute to weight gain due to a higher increase in blood sugar (higher by 18 per cent) and lower fat burn while you sleep (lower by 10 percent). To manage your weight, you need to maximise your calorie burn not only during your waking hours but even while you are asleep. You can only achieve this by getting the right amount of movement, eating the right amount of food, and giving importance to recovery – everything should be combined with the proper timing of exercise and food intake.

Eat during your most active hours during the day when your energy is high and your brain is fully functioning

Consume most of your calories during the early part of your day (breakfast or lunch) so you can maximise your energy in performing the most important tasks for the day needed by your body and brain. Strategically match the timing of your meals with your activities.

You need to have a well-conditioned body so you can perform well in your fitness and/or sports activities, daily household chores, daily errands, and your job requiring your physical energy. You should be mentally sharp during the day so you can perform the most- needed mental tasks for problem-solving, concentration, planning, organising, learning new skills, and control over emotions and behaviours.

Stay away from lifestyle habits that can contribute to disturbed sleep such as late-night eating, intense physical activities, and drinking caffeine.

You don’t need extra calories late at night because you should be preparing your body already for rest and sleep. Late-night eating can disrupt your body clock, which can lead to more serious health problems such as insomnia, impaired fat metabolism, mental issues, gastrointestinal problems, and cardiovascular diseases.

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