When it comes to protecting yourself from heart disease, I’m sure you take all the obvious steps like exercising regularly, avoiding low-fat sugar-laden foods, not smoking and following a diet rich in fresh fruit, veg and healthy lean animal proteins.
Of course, we are all human so it is only normal to sometimes slip up and indulge a little bit. But if there is one indulgence you need to avoid, then it is those cheeky late night snacks.
It’s late at night… it’s way past your bedtime… or you’ve woken up in the middle of the night… you are restless… tossing and turning… finally, you stumble to the fridge.
Once that door opens and that little light turns on, the grazing begins… anything goes!
However, according to a new study, you should really avoid those midnight snack attacks because eating during the night can up your chances of heart disease.
Researchers fed a group of rats at the beginning of their rest period and at the beginning of their active phase, and then they measured their levels of blood fats (triglycerides) after each meal.
We know that in humans, having high levels of triglycerides in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease.
The researchers found that the rats’ triglycerides spiked more drastically when they ate at the start of their rest period, compared to when they ate at the start of their active phase.
This suggests that eating when they should have been resting disturbed the rats’ natural biological clock.
Of course, humans aren’t lab animals, but humans and rats are actually very similar in how our bodies respond to stimulants.
Previous studies have shown that when you ignore your biological clock and shovel in midnight snacks, you can add pounds to your waistline… elevate your blood pressure… and even make it harder for your brain to form new memories.
It also makes perfect sense that eating too late could spike your triglycerides — because your muscles and tissues don’t soak up these fats for fuel when your internal clock signals that it’s rest time.
So, the next time you wake up in the wee hours of the morning don’t find comfort in the fridge.
If hunger is driving you, try eating a high-protein dinner with lots of fibre to keep you feeling full until morning.
But if your snacking sessions are fuelled by anxiety, taking a warm bath or a hot shower can calm your nerves and help you sleep like a baby.