Bryan Harris | Late-night eating

One of the biggest mistakes people make when striving to lose a little body fat and improve their personal wellness is eating late at night.
St. John's Morning Show columnist Bryan Harris advises against late-night eating. (CBC)

Bryan Harris is the St. John's Morning Show's new fitness columnist.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when striving to lose a little body fat and improve their personal wellness is eating late at night. Eating late night has such a negative effect on the body. 

To begin, look what happens in your body late at night. For most people by nine p.m., the body has been awake for approximately 12-15 hours. Now as you enter into the nine p.m-to-midnight time frame, every cell in your body starts to shut down. They're tired and depleted and need some well deserved rest. 

Once a cell shuts down, its need for calories is at its daily lowest.

Your stomach and digestive system have also has been busy all day processing the food you have consumed. They also need some downtime.

Oh no, look out! It's 10:30 and you are in front of the TV. You feel hungry and you head to the junk cupboard. This late-night eating amounts to a few hours of additional work for the stomach and digestive system. As well, at around two a.m. when you are fast asleep, these unnecessary calories from fat and sugar will be swarming in the blood stream.

Because you are asleep, these 700 calories stay in the blood stream, going from muscle to muscle looking for a place to get burned. The problem is, each muscle is asleep so the 700 calories now head for the liver where they are quickly converted to fat and stored in your fat cells.

For most people, eating late night is simply a nasty habit. You are definitely not hungry as you just had supper a few hours ago. Another negative aspect of late-night eating is the disruption it causes to your sleep. A belly full of food usually results in sleep-disturbing dreams, a lot of rolling around, as well as middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom.

So the next time you are about to embark on a late-night trip to the fridge or junk cupboard, think about the additional fat stores and the disturbed sleep.

For the best results, avoid eating any food late night. But if you really want something to eat, start with a glass of water and something that is low calorie and filling like popcorn, a bowl of fruit or high fibre cereal.

I suggest to my clients the 5 -2 rule. For five days a week (Sunday to Thursday) do no late night eating. Then, two days a week (Friday and Saturday), have a healthy late night snack.  

This schedule I refer to as moderation.

Til next time!


About the Author

Bryan Harris

As an employee, health and wellness educator, Bryan has initiated dozens of programs and courses.


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