Eating late at night, late dinner or heavy dinner has always been considered not so good for the health, and yet each time we plan an elaborate meal, a celebration or a party it is usually in the night. Time and again researchers have been conducted on how the meal timings impact health. Nutritionists since ages have been advising their clients to have early dinners, however, it is still a topic of debate whether eating late in the night is a threat to your life. In this article, we try to reason using plain simple logic, as to how risky can eating at night be and other factors with which meal timings impact health.
It is a proven fact, that having multiple lights and healthy meals in a day improves the metabolism, digestion and general health. Why would this principle fail at night? Humans, unlike plants, do not depend on the sun for their metabolic cycles. Our digestive and metabolic systems function constantly. It works faster when we are awake and slower when we are asleep, and there are so many other factors that contribute to the wellness and proper functioning of all important physiological functions, e.g. age, stress, hormones, climatic conditions and not just the time.
What causes harm to the heart and the health, is more to do with the type of meal than the timing of the meal. What is harmful or unhealthy, is harmful and unhealthy any time of the day. An aerated soft drink, having approximately 39 grams of sugar, and almost 300 calories will do the same damage be it day or night. The only scope is that you have some chance to adjusting the extra sugar and calorie intake during the day, if you have taken it earlier in the day, unlike night when you would rather rest in the bed.
In today’s age, with cut throat survival competition, and elongated working hours, it is too far fetched to expect someone to have dinner by 7:00 PM. The evolved rule of thumb is to have dinner at least two hours before sleeping. If you feel hungry after dinner, there is still nothing to worry about. A glass of milk or a handful of almonds or fruits (non-citrus preferably) can be easily consumed, in fact, it is advisable, rather than sleeping hungry and letting the stomach acids concentrate.
Your meal constituents and their timings should depend on your age, your physical activity, your gender and endemic factors, and even then there is no single formula to work for everyone. Each body reacts differently to various foods. What works for someone else might not work the same way for you. Understand your body, see the impact of late eating on yourself.
Checkpoints to consider whether eating late is working for you:
- Do you get up feeling bloated after a late dinner?
- Do you get up having to swell on your face and feet after a late night meal?
- Do you find it difficult to eliminate/defecate the next morning?
- Do you not feel hungry the next day after a late night meal?
If most of the answers are “Yes”, you need to work on making your dinner lighter and earlier, and maybe include a fruit later in the night. Always keep in mind that long intervals between two meals, like an early dinner and a late breakfast, is never healthy for your metabolism, so reduce the gaps by introducing light snacks, and enjoy what works best for you. Your body is the best guide and will be the first to show you its discontentment if something is not right.