You’ll have a greatly increased risk of weight gain if you eat at night. This would include getting up late at night to eat a snack. You gain more weight when you eat at the wrong time of day for your specific metabolism. See the latest research article in the journal, Obesity, “Circadian Timing of Food Intake Contributes to Weight Gain.”
Wise food and chronobiology traditions reveal that what is certain is that the person you are in the morning is different from the one you are at night. Your blood pressure rises between 8 a.m. and 12 noon, then starts dropping until it’s midnight low. There’s an internal clock governing your hormone levels and your heartbeat, all following different clocks that may bear only a slight relation to your daily cycle.
Individuals respond to this regulation by perodic changes in their growth and behavior patterns. Jet lag is one example of what happens when the internal clock is out of whack. Morning people have a higher body temperature than the afternoon or evening person. That’s what gives them that early morning burst of energy.
All these inner clocks, your biorhythms, are affected by whether you start the day with specific types of protein or complex carbohydrates. And if you’re eating whole grains, for energy, it’s part of wise food traditions to let the whole grains ferment overnight in a refrigerated jar or pot of filtered water.
Research is currently underway at Chicago’s Northwestern University and at Weinberg College of Arts and Science’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology. How the weight gain occurs is that your body is regulated by biorhythms, also called circadian rhythms. When those rhythms are interrupted, weight gain could occur.
The regulation mechanism for the circadian rhythms is being researched to see what role it plays in weight gain from eating during hours your body normally would be sleeping. The research results would be applied to the study of excess weight loss strategies based on timing meals according to your individual chronobiology or circadian rhythms.
Research on the effects of eating at night on increased weight gain comes under the category of studies in neurobiology and physiology. In the original experiments, mice were fed a high fat diet during the time the mice would normally be asleep.On the other hand, the research on mice may or may not be applicable to humans.
So the studies remain inconclusive until science shows humans react the same way. Naturopaths, on the other hand, have long warned people not to eat at night. Some nutritionists suggest people not eat after 4:00 pm if they are older and lack enough digestive enzymes, which could result in acid reflux when lying flat.
Other nutritionists recommend taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to make up for the lack of digestive enzymes in older adults. In the eating at night experiments with mice, what the scientists were trying to determing is how biorhythms, chronobiology, and circadian inner clocks influence eating habilts.
Results have been published in the medical journal, Obesity. The journal, Obesity, also has an informative article, “High glycemic index diet quickly lowers plasma antioxidant levels.”For more information on how circadian clocks affect the human body, you can read the article, Chronobiological Interventions in Mood Disorders.
The research noted in the article stated that “studies provide evidence that chronobiological treatments (SPA/TSD/light therapy) may represent novel and safe augmentation strategies that could contribute to the management of unipolar and bipolar depression.”
There is also preliminary evidence suggesting that variations in genes supporting the molecular clock (CLOCK and GSK3-b) may influence core features of bipolar disorder, such as age at onset and rate of recurrence. See the article, Serretti A, Benedetti F, Mandelli L, et al. “Genetic dissection of psychopathological symptoms: insomnia in mood disorders and CLOCK gene polymorphism.” Am J Med Genet. 2.