For many, when the sun goes down, so does their willpower. They maintain their sensible eating habits during the day, only to eat junk food like pizza and ice cream at night. There is, however, a simple solution. You can control your appetite after dark by eating a healthy and nutritious snack.
Putting the Myth to Rest
You’ve probably been told at some point that eating late at night is detrimental. However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence proving that calories ingested at night are metabolized differently than other times. Therefore, it is not the time of day that leads to weight gain, but rather the total daily caloric intake as a whole. Whether you’re eating in the morning or at midnight, your body turns any extra calories into fat.
Metabolically speaking, our bodies have the lowest need for calories at night. Yet in America, we eat more during dinner than any other meal. One study showed that participants consumed 42% of their daily calories from dinnertime on. But there are reasons these unhealthy patterns are so commonplace. Some people don’t eat enough during the day, causing a drop in blood sugar levels, which can lead to over consumption at night. Others are simply overindulging as an emotional escape from stress or to beat boredom. We tend to mindlessly reach for junk food during sedentary activities such as watching television or using the computer. These foods contain large amounts of sugar and saturated fat which can lead to weight gain, insomnia, indigestion or even more serious health problems.
The good news is that there are appropriate alternatives. You can effectively curb your hunger with a high protein, low calorie snack. An Herbalife Protein Bar is a great guilt-free snack, containing 12g of protein, healthy fiber, as well as 23 vitamins and minerals to help manage your weight. Roasted Soy Nuts with Cardia®† Salt is another healthy snack that is high in nutritional value. Both are packed with protein and flavor to keep you satisfied, and also rich in nutrients and fiber.
So the next time you feel like “midnight munching”, think about the benefits of a healthy, protein-powered snack. The nutritional difference will be like night and day.
†Cardia® is a registered trademark of Nutrition 21, Inc.
By Luigi Gratton, M.D., M.P.H.
Vice President, Medical Affairs and Education