Why You Should Stop Late-Night Snacking
Do you find yourself reaching for your favorite snack every time you open your go-to streaming app? You’re not alone. According to our research, as many as 90% of Americans snack outside of mealtimes every single day.14,15
Since “T.V. dinners” were first popularized in the 1950s, snacking in front of screens has become quite the American tradition. However, with seemingly endless amounts of digital content to consume in today’s world, there’s nothing to stop us from snacking late into the night. The bad news is that late-night snacking, as comforting as it may be, is doing your body more harm than good.
If you want to kick the habit in 2024, read on! These snacking health risks and side effects will make you think twice before grabbing your next bag of chips:
1 WEIGHT Gain
It’s no surprise that our chips, cookies, and other tasty evening treats are making us gain weight like crazy! To begin with, most of our favorite snacks are high in fats, sugars, and sodium, which pack on the pounds and make us retain water like nobody’s business.1,2,3 Worse yet, these treats often lack vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients – what people often refer to as “empty calories” – so you’re not giving your body anything it can actually use. Finally, the time of day you eat can also affect how much weight you gain. Eating late at night causes food to become stored fat instead of being burned as energy for the body. Over time, that nightly “one more bowl of chips” can lead to obesity and its associated health risks, like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.4
2 Poor Sleep
How are you sleeping at night? If you wake up a lot or have trouble falling asleep, you definitely need to cut out the late-night snacking. Generally, you should be eating your last meal around four hours before bed.7 If you’re eating right before bed, you’re more likely to experience interrupted sleep and restlessness in bed, which can make you feel groggy the next day.5,6 We won’t get into the other reasons why sleep deprivation is bad for your health, but let’s just say it’s not worth those late-night French fries.
3 Acid Reflux
Late-night eating can also cause acid reflux and aggravate those with GERD (a more serious, chronic acid reflux condition). Foods that are spicy, greasy, acidic, and high in fat tend to be the biggest cause of heartburn and that lovely acid backwash some of us have been unlucky enough to experience. Familiar evening indulgences that may trigger this unpleasant set of symptoms include: anything with cheese, spicy foods, chips, French fries, chocolate, tea, and carbonated drinks (yes, even sparkling water).8 Chronic acid reflux (GERD) can lead to serious health complications you don’t want to mess with, including esophageal cancer and obstructive sleep apnea, so we should try to avoid these triggers in the first place.9,10,11
4 Interrupts Our Natural Fast
If you think about it, our bodies weren’t designed to eat constantly. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors often endured many hours (sometimes days) at a time without eating while in pursuit of their next meal.12 As it turns out, our bodies use these periods of fasting to do more than just burn fat. While fasting, our bodies regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, conduct an extensive cell cleanup process called autophagy, generate new neurons, produce ketones, and so much more.12 All of these processes help keep your system running smoothly. If we’re eating every moment that we’re awake, we’re not taking full advantage of our body’s unique self-healing abilities and might be putting ourselves at greater risk of developing chronic health issues. Learn more about the benefits of intermittent fasting on our blog or through our fasting program, YFast.
5 How to break the habit
Time for some good news! Your nightly snacking addiction can be easily remedied, and you don’t have to give up your favorite treats permanently to do it. Good health is more about what you do regularly, so occasional indulgences are totally fine. According to the experts, all you need to do to break the nightly habit is stop snacking for a few weeks to kick the habit!13 Try chewing gum, sipping tea, or distracting yourself with a new activity every time a craving hits.
Additionally, make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need during the day, every day. Add Youngevity’s 18 Daily Superfruit Blend and 20 Daily Super Veggie Blend to your daily routine. This way, you can make sure you’re getting more fruits and vegetables in your diet.