Late night snacks

Don’t cheat—just change your late night snack options and fight those binges.

Woman eating from the refrigerator at nightThe sun rises; you wake up in the morning and jump-start your day with a work out and a nutritious breakfast. You go about your day completely focussed. Then… as the day comes to a close a metamorphosis occurs. All healthy eating resolutions are forgotten and you’re consumed with a craving for potato chips, cookies, chocolates and candies.

Let’s admit it, we all cheat on our diet sometimes. Even with taking utmost care in choosing the right food in every meal, we fall culprit to ‘late night snacking.’ Probably because at that hour we’re too tired to cook up something nutritious for ourselves, or the fact that no one else is awake and around to catch us red-handed. Remember, those calories may be unaccounted for but they won’t go unnoticed on you. Metabolically, the energy spent by the body is reduced by night fall, but some calories are still burnt for basic functions like digestion and respiration. That’s why late night snacks coupled with the lowered satiety hormones may contribute to weight gain. What you eat is vital over when you eat. Overeating conditions the body to store extra food and fats as triglycerides [the storage form of fat].

Understanding the drawbacks and swapping calorie-laden snacks with alternative scrumptious yet healthy snacks is the solution to this predicament.

Why the late night pangs

Technically, a food craving is usually brought on by the nutrient demand of the body, to replenish its stores. A number of hormones like ghrelin and insulin heighten hunger. Inadequate sleep and restriction of food, further increase the production of these hormones. On the contrary, the hormone leptin suppresses hunger. Imbalance in any of these hormones may compromise food intake, influencing weight and overall wellbeing.

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Geetha G H
Geetha is a Bangalore based registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, exercise-sports nutritionist, with diverse experience of 14 years in academia, nutritional counselling, lifestyle coaching, clinical nutrition, food safety, corporate workshops and seminars, clinical research. She is also a nutrition columnist, a university first ranker with several gold medals for under graduation and post-graduation, passionate about yoga, preventive and performance nutrition. Geetha is currently pursuing International Olympic Committee Sports nutrition.


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