Got the night munchies? Beware diabetes and heart disease
How many of us can honestly say that we've never raided the fridge at 3 a.m., egged on by an uncontrollable hunger for ice-cream? Doing this once or twice is fine, but new research says that if you make this a habit, you could be in trouble.
Late-night snacking is a strange habit, and there are various theories as to why so many of us are inclined to raid our cupboards and fridges past our bedtime. One study has suggested that our craving for certain types of food — those rich in starch, salt, and sugars — late in the evening may be explained by our ancestors' needs.
The study authors explained that early humans did not know when and where their next meal would come from, so binge eating late in the day where possible allowed their bodies to store the energy needed for survival.
But now, our snacks are driven more by pleasure than by necessity, so their effects are much less wholesome. Researchers agree that caving in to your munchies and eating late in the evening leads to negative health outcomes, such as a heightened risk of obesity.
This may not only be tied to the snacks' nutritional value, though; it might also be linked to how our bodies are programmed to work, and how our circadian — or internal — clocks function. Our bodies are adjusted to the natural day-night cycle, and so they tell us when we should eat, sleep, and be active.
If the circadian clock is ignored, health and well-being are also impacted. For instance, it was found that eating outside the normal waking and activity hours may cause excess weight gain.
And now, emerging research from the Nation Continue reading