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Are You Being Tripped Up by Late-Night Snacking?

By Sandy Schroeder

When the question of late-night snacking comes up, usually a lot of hands go up as many reluctantly admit to indulging. There’s a reason all of those fast food franchises advertise late-night specials. There are a lot of customers out there, ordering fries, burgers and tacos.

I don’t head out to my favorite franchise, but I do dip into the fridge for my favorite cheeses, or a quick toasted tortilla late in the evening. I also enjoy having a late dinner after a show or a concert. If this sounds all too familiar, you may want to consider the latest research that says late-night eating not only thwarts weight loss, but it may also zap brain power. In addition, some doctors are suggesting late-night eating can trigger symptoms such as acid reflux.

Weight Control

A recent study in Cell Metabolism reported mouse research controlling the time and amounts the mice ate. The only ones that lost weight were the ones that only ate during the day. Those that ate during the normal sleeping time did not lose weight.

Mental Impacts

Another mouse study found mice that ate during the normal sleeping period performed worse on learning and memory tests.

Although we are not mice, researchers indicate these same effects from eating late may also apply to people, impacting weight and memory.

They recommend having the last meal three hours before bedtime, and waiting for 12 hours to eat again. They also suggest having your largest meal at lunchtime, rather than dinner. When you consider most of your physical activity is done during the day, not after dinner, it makes sense to eat less in the evening.

Acid Reflux, Postnasal Drip, Asthma

Eating late at night, overeating and choosing heavy foods, can also trigger symptoms such as acid reflux, according to New York Times doctor Jamie Kaufman, who specializes in acid reflux.

Kaufman said many of his patients ate late dinners, which were their largest meals. When someone goes to sleep after eating, it is easier for acid to spill out of a full stomach, leading to acid reflux, post-nasal drip, and asthma.

 “The single most important intervention is to eliminate late night eating,” said Kaufman.

As much as I love late-night eating, the medical research suggests phasing it out may be the wisest decision for most people.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in San Antonio, Tex.

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