The right time to eat: Why you should avoid late-night dinners
We are all guilty of those late-night indulgences in carbohydrate-rich appetisers or doughnuts to satiate hunger.
But most people are unaware of the fact that night-time calorie intake wreaks havoc on health. It not only adds to the risk of weight gain but also increases the chances of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and blood pressure.
Wondering why? It’s because our bodies work in a certain rhythm, which gets affected due to the change in food intake timings. Nutritionist, Shonali Sabherwal says, “When the stomach digests food, liver takes the nutrients from it. The peak time of the liver function is 3am, if that is missed, then digestion is hindered as the food intake time changes.”
Since we are most active during the day, any food consumed gets broken down easily, enabling us to burn calories effectively. “In the night, fat gets deposited because the basal metabolic rate (BMR) is low. Since our physical activity level at night is low, the calories sit in the system and get converted into fat,” says Ritika Samaddar, nutritionist, Max Super Speciality Hospital.
Saberwal recommends not eating after 7.30pm so that the body gets time to go through the digestion process. However, she suggests going for nuts and sweet potato if one feels hungry later in the night.
But if avoiding a late-night dinner is tough, nutritionist Rashi Chowdhary suggests one should make healthier choices. “The macronutrient content in your food decides the impact that food has on your system.” So rather than going for a dessert, one should opt for fruits at night post-dinner, the calories from sugar will just sit in your body and especially around your waist.
One can go for a meal that has a better macronutrient ratio — largely made up of good fats and protein, like chicken cooked in butter with veggies or a bowl of avocado with a bowl of lentils. Such food is not only better for your blood sugar levels, but also allows the food to get slowly released into your system. In fact, the nutrients in such a meal could also help you sleep better and also help with better recovery next morning.