It’s got more to do with your brain than your stomach.
It’s 10pm, almost time for bed. You know it’s bad, but you just can’t resist raiding the ice cream tub, or zipping to a nearby hawker centre for your favourite fried carrot cake.
If you didn’t know already, late-night snacking ups your risk of acid reflux and heartburn, especially if you hit the sack soon after. It could also jeopardise your weight loss efforts, as your body is naturally less efficient at burning calories later in the day.
But before bashing yourself for being a failure at resisting temptations, take heart. A study by Brigham Young University in the US offers a consoling reason for why you’re munching more than you should be at night. Here’s a clue: It’s got to do with satiety.
When researchers and a neuroscientist used functional MRI to monitor the brain activity of study subjects, they found that neural responses to food were lower in the evening than in the morning. This means that food is perceived to be more satisfying when eaten in the day rather than at night.
“You might over-consume at night because food is not as rewarding visually, so you eat more to try to get satisfied,” says lead author Travis Masterson.
Can’t stop those cravings? Check out these 10 healthy snacks you can get at the supermarket.