A recent study undertaken at the University of Pennsylvania has suggested that snacking at night before sleeping is bad for your health. It not only contributes to weight gain, but could also increase the likelihood of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Researchers asked the participants of the study, nine healthy adults, to eat three meals and two snacks between 8am and 7pm for eight weeks. Participants were then asked to eat the same amount but between noon and 11pm for a further eight weeks. To account for differences in sleep patterns, sleeping times over the two eight-week periods were kept the same at 11pm to 9am.
The results of the two periods were then compared. And it was found that during the first period of eating during the daytime, participants produced a hormone which acts as an appetite stimulant, helping them feel fuller for longer. But when the participants ate later at night not only did their weight increase, but their levels of glucose, cholesterol and insulin too.
Raised glucose and insulin levels are both linked with the development of type 2 diabetes. High cholesterol levels can lead to numerous health problems including heart disease and an increased risk of suffering a heart attack.
Namni Goel PhD, lead author of the study summarised that “Eating later can promote a negative profile of weight, energy, and hormone markers—such as higher glucose and insulin, which are implicated in diabetes, and cholesterol and triglycerides, which are linked with cardiovascular problems and other health conditions.”