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October 22, 2018 • Healthy Living, Weight Control

Why We Are Hungrier at Night

Have you ever noticed that your hunger increases as the day goes on and peaks at night? If so, know that science has backed up this “gut feeling,” and the body’s internal clock (the circadian system) appears to be highly involved.

A man who has nighttime sleep-related eating disorder is sleep eating as he sits in front of an open refrigerator eating ice cream out of the carton, oblivious to everything around him because he is actually sleeping.

The researchers noted that although this pattern of appetite and subsequent food consumption may have served our hunter-gatherer ancestors well, it backfires in today’s world of food abundance and sedentary lifestyles. Eating high calorie foods in the evening is a particularly high risk for weight gain because the calories are less likely to be burned with physical activity and because the body’s metabolic systems are more sluggish in the evening hours.
The researchers concluded that it is likely prudent from a weight control standpoint to strive to eat larger, higher calorie meals earlier in the day, avoid high-calorie foods in the evening and go to bed earlier. Past research has also shown that eating breakfast, especially a high protein breakfast can also help mitigate nighttime cravings and snacking. (Obesity, 2013; 21(3)
Plum Hill
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