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Are you someone who is so busy during the day, the only possible time you can eat a proper meal is before bed? Is 9pm the time when the kids are asleep, you put your feet up, and the treats fall into your lap? Or is it just that you find trouble sleeping when your stomach isn’t full?

We all know that eating the wrong things late in the day is bad for us, and yet the majority of the population continues to follow this unnecessary habit. Recent studies are showing that weight gain may not be the only result of high carbohydrate foods late at night, in fact these treats and heavy meals may be highly dangerous to the body and our overall health.

There is a well-known theory that if you eat and then sleep, you are going to promote weight gain at a faster rate than at any other time. However, new science and investigation is proving this is not 100% correct. On one hand, carbohydrate foods are the bodies energy, therefore eating a lot of them before sleeping means you don’t use them for their purpose, which may promote the conversion to glucose and then to fat in the body. Although, the change is not immediate, and so the food may still be used as essential energy at a later stage. The general rule is, if you burn more calories than you eat then you will loose fat; and vice versa.

Furthering this, it is important to be considerate of what you are eating and what time of day. As previously stated, carbohydrates are energy, so eating good (complex) carbs at appropriate times throughout the day is entirely necessary. Proteins are primarily used for recovery and muscle building, so may be needed at different times. Fruit and vegetables are also carbohydrates (so be careful on your food balancing), but they are essential in providing the body with needed vitamins and minerals. Exercise and activities may alter the body’s needs in comparison to being sedentary and stationary; it is important to equip yourself with knowledge and ask for help should you need it. In conclusion, carbohydrate induced sleep may not specifically be a cause of weight gain; but generally not eating the right things at the right times is, and eating more than what your body is using up.

Eating immediately before sleep is connected to other health risks and illnesses. Firstly, it can be a cause of sleep disturbance if the body is struggling to digest a food. Also, for those that suffer from diabetes it can be a trigger for symptoms and cause the illness to worsen. In the past 3 years, studies have shown a link in eating less than an hour before bedtime and an increased risk of stroke, as well as GERD (acid reflux) and digestion problems. Immediate minor problems include head aches, dehydration and constipation.

Overall, no matter who you are or what you do; what you eat and when is definitely important; it can affect the health and physical condition of even the fittest of people.

It is also common to find connections between nutrition and mental health.

Today, after I have just enjoyed a GREAT treat meal hehe, I encourage us all to be more considerate of our foods, their necessity in our lives and the nutritional benefit of eating them at a particular time.

Happy eating 🙂

time-to-eat

Asalaamu Alaykum ❤

Safiyah Esack – 16/11/2013

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