Eating late and fast: contributing factors in obesity
Late-night snackers and fast- eaters are more likely to
For those people who work night time hours or who wake in the middle of the
night to enjoy a midnight
snack, this means that you are more likely to become
overweight or obese based
on your habits alone.
The human body is governed by hormonal fluctuations and routines, also called
the circadian rhythm that essentially ensure we
eat at the right times during
the day. Since our energy needs are greater, it is essential that we offer our
bodies' ample caloric intake to fuel our activities.
If we eat at odd times such as at night, we kick off a
where too much ghrelin (the feed me hormones) and not enough leptin (the I am
full hormone) are produced. These hormones are the rulers of our
feelings of being satisfied and wreak havoc on our
metabolism when thrown out of
Some people are convinced that not eating after 7 p.m. helps them to
weight and keep the weight off. Whether or not this strategy works for everyone,
nutritionists are offering some advice on how people who are interested in this
approach can best accomplish it.
Similarly, the rate at which a person eats affects how many calories he
ingests. There have been two researches in 2008 but perhaps the most intriguing
research is this year's study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology
and Metabolism by Kokkinos et al. This research gives us a better understanding
of the underlying physiological effect of eating speed. According to research
findings, eating at speed affects certain hormone levels in our body, which in turn
interact with the hypothalamus to create the feeling of hunger or fullness. The
hormones PYY, GLP-1, and Ghrelin all play a role. Kokkinos found that levels of
both PYY and GLP-1 are significantly higher in the body when a person eats
slowly. These two hormones cause a person to feel full. It was found that
Ghrelin levels were higher two hours after eating for those who ate quickly.
Ghrelin causes the feeling of
hunger. This research supports the previous
studies. It seems hormone levels are responsible for the fullness slow
eaters feel and the hunger fast eaters feel. What's interesting is that fast
eaters feel both less full after eating more food and hungrier just a couple
hours after eating than do slow eaters.
Of course, if you can change your eating habits and begin to eat in time and
more slowly, chewing your food 20-30 times before swallowing, then you will
likely begin to eat fewer calories. More importantly, you will actually feel
full after your meal, and you will go longer before feeling the need to eat
again. It could be that modifying eating time and speed is the best dieting tip
anyone could give. So take a hint from these studies and start eating slowly!
If you don't eat before mid-morning (around nine or ten
o'clock), you are probably skipping breakfast. A good breakfast should
contain a good dose of fiber and protein to keep you satisfied until lunch
Tips to adopt healthy eating pattern
Always eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, and not to skip any
meals. And if
you get hungry during other times of the day, you can add in some snacks or
even divide the meals into smaller ones to be eaten more frequently.
throughout the day
Make sure to schedule and eat dinner early.
Make breakfast the largest meal of the day and dinner the smallest.
Brush your teeth after meals to curb appetite, as well as keep your teeth
healthy, so doing this right after dinner will help you to resist the
temptation to eat late.
Keep busy at night, it helps. Rather than just sitting around in boredom,
experts suggest playing a game, taking a walk, or engaging in some other
activity or exercise to keep your mind busy so that it will focus on things
other than food.
Avoid processed sugars and eat nutrient-dense,
Snack on things like nuts and seeds throughout the day rather than chips and
crackers, for instance, will not only provide more sustained energy, but it
will provide better nutrition for maintaining a
If you are eating at night to unwind, calm emotions, or relax yourself,
focus on getting in touch with what's going on emotionally when you go for the
fridge. Develop non-food methods of dealing with
Eat without engaging in any other simultaneous activity, i.e., no reading.
If you're up late burning the midnight oil, snack on "free" foods. These
are foods that, don't have health benefits, are very low fat, low-calorie
snacks and are almost harmless. These include sugar-free Jell-O (10 calories)
and sugar-free chocolate pudding (60 calories). Need something crunchy and
salty? Try trans-fat-free microwave popcorn.
- WF Team
Dated 29 October 2010