If you have a late dinner and then go to bed, beware: a new study shows that you may gain weight while you sleep.
Dinnertime would have an effect on weight gain.
It’s probably because your metabolism slows down, which increases blood sugar and other chemicals that contribute to weight gain and type 2 diabetes, according to researchers.
It’s not just what you eat, but when you eat that can be a factor in conditions such as obesity,” said the author of the study, Dr. Jonathan Jun, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “You can eat the same number of calories over that 24-hour period, but your body will process those calories differently depending on the time of day you consume them”.
Twenty people studied.
For this study, Jonathan Jun’s team asked 20 healthy volunteers to eat the same dinner at 6 or 10 pm. Both groups went to bed at 11 p.m. and got up at 7 a.m..
Prior to the study, participants wore activity trackers. During the study, blood samples were taken hourly and sleep studies were conducted. Volunteers were also tested for body fat and ate foods containing compounds that allowed the researchers to track fat burning. The result: Late dinners had higher blood sugar levels and burned less fat.
The blood sugar level involved.
On average, the peak blood glucose level after a late dinner was about 18% higher and the amount of fat burned was about 10% lower than an earlier meal, according to the study. These effects may be even greater for people who are obese or diabetic, Mr Jun
What is not clear is whether it is the interval between mealtimes and bedtime that explains the difference, he said. For example, if you have dinner at 10 p.m. but retire at 3 a.m., is it biologically the same as having dinner at 6 p.m. and going to bed at 11 p.m.?
Everyone has their own biological clock.
According to Dr. Jun, the effects of diet and sleep may be different for each person depending on their personal metabolism or biological clock. “Instead of focusing on the time of day or the time to start or stop eating, we need to recognize that it depends a lot on the individual,” he said.
Mr. Jun said he hoped to learn more in future studies. Samantha Heller, senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health in New York, reviewed the results. “It makes sense that eating near bedtime alters glucose and fat metabolism because you are sleeping and not physically active,” she said, adding that sleep has its own processes that involve cellular and molecular mechanisms to help the body stay healthy.
Bad habits involved.
Mrs Heller noted that people are often stuck in a routine of eating before dinner, eating at dinner, and then snacking until bedtime – meaning they have eaten for several hours. “It’s an easy way to stock up,” she said.
“We eat at night for many reasons, including stress, boredom, loneliness and anger.” To help manage nighttime snacking, Ms. Heller suggests an afternoon snack, such as hummus and carrots, so you don’t starve at dinnertime, and enjoy a more vegetarian, balanced dinner. Then, close the kitchen.
Avoid snacking after dinner.
Plan activities for times when you feel like having a snack – you’re unlikely to be hungry because you’ve had dinner,” says Heller. “Assess what triggers this foray into the kitchen and create a game plan to deal with it.”
Some strategies: Have a glass of water or herbal tea, or engage in some other activity, such as reading, taking a walk, or listening to music or an audio book. “Closing the kitchen after dinner is an easy way to lose a few pounds and sleep better,” said Samantha Heller. The results were published online on June 11th in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.