How many times have you heard lately that you don’t have to eat at night or that your last meal should be around six o`clock? But do you know exactly why is it recommended?
Of course, it’s about the extra weight, but behind this there is a much more important explanation that we all should know, when speaking about why is it dangerous to eat at night.
Behaviour, physiology, and biochemistry reflect the daily cycle of the planet, and people who fail to synchronize with nature are likely to have a higher chance of suffering from diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases. Furthermore, gastrointestinal diseases, depression, and other similar diseases are most common among those who do not have normal sleep habits.
However, according to a new research, not only sleep disruption can result in undesirable physiological symptoms. Eating habits, which disturb the circadian rhythm can cause serious health problems.
For example, people working in shifts are predisposed to the development of metabolic diseases, and one of the studies that examined this subject has concluded that people working in the night-shift were by 40% more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases.
Another similar study, conducted by scientists from the University of Quebec concluded that men who work in the night shift are three times more prone to prostate cancer. Canadian researchers consider that the exposure to light during night-time affects the production of melatonin and triggers a set of events inside the body, which could encourage the growth of tumours.
Moreover, even less major deviations from the normal circadian rhythm can affect the way how we process food. Recently, Frank Scheer from the Harvard Medical School and Marta Garaulet from Murcia University have published the results of a survey conducted on 420 individuals from Spain that were on a certain diet. Participants have signed up for a weight loss program, and the scientists have tracked their eating habits. Half of the attendees had the habit of consuming the main meal of the day before 3 PM, while the rest of the participants used to eat at night.
Both groups followed a similar diet, performed just as many physical exercises, had a similar number of sleeping hours, and produced a relatively equal level of hormones associated with hunger.
However, those who had the habit of eating the main meal earlier had lost more weight if compared to the rest of the subjects. “This information indicates that the moment we consume our main meal can predict the weight loss rate,” explained Scheer.
His findings support the idea that our metabolism depends largely on the circadian â€œcar” from our genes, and that any mismatch between the two can seriously affect our health.
When speaking about why is it dangerous to eat at night, you should know the following: at night, our brain receives information that the day has ended. Your metabolism will remain active as long as we eat, because the food consumption at night is perplexing the peripheral circadian clocks in the body.
Furthermore, since the two signals bring opposing information (scattered light tells your body that you need to sleep, while food urges it to be active), our metabolism gets confused and starts to function abnormally.