The right time to eat: Why you should avoid late-night din­ners

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Pr­erna Gauba pr­erna.gauba@htlive.com

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.

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