As thrilling and satisfying nighttime snacking may be, there’s no denying the fact that it not only contribute to weight gain, but also adversely impacts the brain and teeth while adding to numerous health problems like liver damage, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
We tend to have this illusion that we can work and eat at anytime of the day we want. But it is not as simple as that. The circadian rhythm follows a 24-hour cycle, regulating our body’s organs and releasing hormones apprising us when it is time for bed. Disturbing this cycle of sleep-wake is bad news, as it brings along many health problems including immune system issues and type-2 diabetes. Furthermore, it negatively impacts cognitive function, especially memory mechanism and learning.
Another reason what late night snacking does is compromise your oral health. If you regularly wake up in the middle of the night to chomp down some food and then go back to sleep, here is why you need to stop and step back from that fridge right now! You just enjoyed a Mars bar, but now you are too lazy to go and brush your teeth again, or weirdly enough, you would rather sleep with your mouth still tasting like chocolate means a grand feast for bacteria feeding on your teeth.
‘So, all I need is to do is brush my teeth again and I am good to go?’ Not entirely. When we usually brush our teeth, there still remain certain sugars and tiny food bits that have not been thoroughly wiped out. That’s when our saliva comes in and removes the little particles and acids.
After dark, however, our body produces less saliva and so it may not be a great backup, encouraging bacterial build-up. Furthermore, nighttime is the period of rest and restoration for your teeth when, after the day’s wear and tear, they will finally have a time to remineralize. Disturbing this resting cycle with food is bad for your teeth.
Considering the above problems, it is best to avoid eating at night altogether. However, if you must, snack on healthy foods like baked tortilla chips, non-buttered popcorn and celery.