We are frequently recommended to have an early dinner so that the body has adequate time to digest the food. However, there is more than one advantage to eating at least two hours before bedtime – it turns out that late-night snacking can not only disturb digestion but also dysregulated hunger hormones, making you feel hungry and perhaps leading to overeating and weight gain.
To shed some light on the matter, Dr. Uma Naidoo, a nutritional psychiatrist, stated that while the foods we consume might have a significant impact on how we feel, our eating habits are also crucial to consider. Late-night eating, especially eating close to bedtime, has long been seen to be harmful to our health.
In an Instagram post, she stated that a recent randomized, controlled, crossover trial discovered that people who eat their largest meals later in the day have lower serum leptin levels (the hormone that tells us we are full) and a higher ghrelin:leptin ratio than those who eat earlier in the day. As a result, people may feel hungrier and less motivated to quit eating when they are full.
In addition, Dr Aditya S Chowti, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru said that late eating has been shown to have a major effect on hunger hormones. When we eat late at night, especially close to bedtime, we disrupt our body’s normal circadian cycle, which regulates several physiological functions, including appetite and metabolism. This disturbance can result in hunger hormone dysregulation.
Eating late at night, especially high-sugar or high-fat foods, might raise ghrelin levels, making us feel hungrier and more likely to binge. At the same time, it can lower leptin levels, which means our bodies do not receive the fullness signal, leading to calorie overconsumption and potential weight gain.