40 percent of Americans have a problem with acid reflux. Amongst that, heartburn, indigestion, and reflux symptoms can come with a slew of other problems like hoarseness, coughing, asthma and more. All together, the medication used to treat these problems has surpassed $13 billion per year.
The reason this is a problem stems from the fact that over the past two decades, the time for eating meals has started to become later than usual. For many it’s gotten to the point that eating was pushed further away with shopping, exercise, and work taking priority.
Below are a few reasons to avoid eating late at night.
The Overeating Tendencies
It’s common these days for people to skip breakfast and eat a minuscule lunch, typically a sandwich. When supper comes around, a lot of people are starving and have that be the largest meal of their day. Shortly after that they are sitting on a sofa watching TV, only to be eating a snack later on prior to sleeping.
The issue with that though is that after eating, you want to be standing up and walking around. When you are sitting or laying down, you aren’t letting your food properly digest and letting the acid sit in your stomach.
What is also important to note as well is the type of food you are eating to. For many, they opt for chocolates, mints, alcohol, or other high cholesterol foods that gunk up your system.
Many studies have noted the link between late night eating and our body converting those calories into fat. As long as you are eating something after dinner or outside of your typical sleep/wake cycle, food during those times may not be the best for you.
Some people have also noted that acid reflux symptoms were also alleviated if they opted to eat at earlier times as well, typically three hours before going to bed or even before that.
Lose Less Weight
Even though there aren’t many studies out there measuring the precise time for when we should be eating, one particular study published in 2013 made some headway on that. They found that people who ate their main meal after 3 pm actually lost less weight compared to those who had the main meal before 3pm. This was the case even when the amount they were eating, sleeping and exercised were all the same.
This study focused on 420 overweight or obese people. Those who were eating earlier lost 22 pounds while late eaters lost 17.
Why Do We Do This?
Although there are more downsides to all of this, the real question we should be asking here is, why do we like eating so late at night anyway?
For many people they often say to “eat breakfast fitting a king, lunch fitting a prince, and dinner like a peasant.” That being said, in America, adults consume 17 percent of calories during breakfast, 24 percent during lunch, and 34 percent for dinner.
So what exactly prompts us to eat more and more over the day?
Well part of it boils down to our ancestral ways. Our ancestors often had massive meals during the night to ensure that if food was scarce, they would be good all night long and even in the early morning. In the end, the late night gave them energy as well as fat and glycogen they needed so the need to fill up again the next day wasn’t as demanding.
That being said, our late night habits for many have deviated to mere cravings that we have late at night. For most it’s not out of the ordinary for people to skip a meal and opt for sugar, coffee, or any other high-sugar or high-fat foods to give them the energy boost they need for late night crunching.
The issue is those things only spike our appetite ensuring that we eat more when we sit down for an actual meal.
So in the end if you want to make changes to your life, it might be wise to pull away from those energy boosters late at night and eat at an earlier time.