There is no shame in getting caught having a snack right before sleep because hey, we all do it, but you still have to think smart when it comes to eating late, and avoid eating some of the worst things to eat before bed. Otherwise, you can kiss the dream of an amazing physique goodbye, since eating the wrong things can not only add undesirable body fat, but jeopardize your health and disrupt your sleep. In order to avoid this nightmare, here are 15 worst things to eat before bed that you should avoid at all costs.
Table of contents:
- ice cream
- red meat
- candy bars
- peanut butter
- coffee flavored food
- too much fruit
- pastries and sweets
1 Ice Cream
Ice cream has double-whammy properties. It might actually be the most comforting food but yet it’s one of the worst things to eat before bed. How can something SO good, be SO bad? For starters, ice cream is loaded with fat which is digested at a slow rate, and it contains lots of sugar that will definitely keep you up. While the taste might be calming, the results are completely appalling.
2 Red Meat
The problem is that red meat is loaded with proteins and fats, and it takes longer to digest than any other foods. Thus it will keep your body busy breaking down food the whole night, which can cause discomfort and even cramping. In order to avoid a night filled with turning and twisting, it’s important to keep all of your systems at peace. That means restraining yourself from eating red meat right before bed.
Pasta is an easy and quick fix for those who want to kill their craving before bed, but it is not a recommended nighttime snack. Not only is it filled with carbohydrates, but it is one of the more calorie-dense carbohydrate sources found. These calories are highly prone to settling around the waist as well. In order to avoid it, it is better to save the carbohydrate-rich pasta to earlier in the day.
When was the last time that you said to yourself: One slice is not the end of the world! ... but in reality who really stops at one slice? Pizza contains far too many calories to have it right before bedtime. The layer of tomato sauce has high levels of acidity, which can cause acid reflux, and the greasy toppings are very likely to stir up heartburn. That is not the way you want to wake up in the middle of the night!
It is a common misconception that a large amount of alcohol can put you into a great deep sleep. While it’s true that it does tend to have a lethargic and a drowsy effect, it doesn’t produce refreshing and revitalizing sleep. Alcohol can cause dehydration and interfere with the restorative functions of sleep. Therefore, next time you look forward to a long-lasting and deep sleep, avoid drinking before bed.
I know what you are thinking: Celery? Yeah right! As surprising as it is, celery should be avoided before bed if you are aiming for a deep and uninterrupted sleep. Celery is a natural diuretic which means that it elevates the rate of urination more than usual. Diuretics tend to have that effect on the body because they push water through the system. Limit your celery intake before bed, or you may be running laps to the bathroom all night!
As unfortunate as it is, chocolate doesn't just have a higher sugar and fat content than other late-night snacks, but it also contains caffeine. On top of that, it is loaded with stimulants like theobromine, which is known for making your heart race a little. As a result, chocolate can keep you up at night and cause sleep deprivation. Those who don’t sleep enough tend to suffer from increased levels of cortisol, which can encourage muscle tissue breakdown.
8 Candy Bars
The last thing on the list is candy bars. As tempting as they might be, it is important to cross this late-night snack off your list. A recent study has shown that 7 out of 10 people who eat junk foods like candy bars before bed were more likely to experience a nightmare that night. The hypothesis states that high levels of sugar create "more nightmarish brain waves." Next time think twice before you sacrifice your good night sleep to a temptation of junk food!
If you really want to pack on the weight quick, just eat bread at night, but if you want to avoid weight gain, get rid of it as your nighttime snack. An old boyfriend of mine needed to gain weight for football and he did nothing but eat a sandwich every night. He gained 10 pounds in a month, with no other changes. Bread contains yeasts and carbs that cause your body to gain weight, and crave more carbs later, leading to a nasty cycle. Don't go for a sandwich before bed to put you to sleep. Consider having a small bowl of hot oats instead. Although this is still a source of carbs, it won't cause weight gain like bread will.
10 Peanut Butter
Peanut butter, almond butter, or any nut butter for that matter, will cause weight gain quick if you make it a nightly snack. During the worst days of my eating disorder, I ate nut butter everynight and packed on about 25 pounds of night time eating weight gain. It was not only a bad habit, but also embarassing! Don't reach for the nut butter at night ladies! Just have a large glass of unsweetened almond milk or regular milk instead. The calcium will calm your nerves, send you to sleep and take away cravings. I sweeten unsweetened almond milk with cinnamon, stevia and I'm off to sleep in no time.
11 Coffee Flavored Food
Java chip ice cream, a fun coffee drink, coffee flavored candy, or anything with coffee in it before bed will most likely keep you awake. If you happen to fall asleep, you're likely to wake up in the middle of the night because of the caffeine fluctuations in your body. Avoid coffee at bedtime at all costs for a good night's sleep.
12 Too Much Fruit
Some people find fruit to be a great thing to eat at night, and I'm not saying a small serving is bad. Too much fruit, however, is a lot of sugar, and can lead to gas all night because the sugar ferments on top of other foods in the intestines. This is not only painful, but also really hard on your digestion. Eat a small serving and see how it affects you, but try to avoid more than a cup at the most.
Chips are one of those foods that are just way too hard to quit eating. Avoid them at all costs at night when you're more likely to keep on and on, and on, whether in front of the television, computer, etc. It's easy to lose count, and lose touch with your hunger when doing this. The better thing to do is to snack on some raw veggies like carrots and maybe a small handful of almonds. The fiber fills you up quickly and you still get that nice crunchy texture of chips.
Another food to avoid at night if you're watching your weight is cereal. Cereal is so hard to just eat one serving of, which is only 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup with most brands. At night, it is so comforting to eat, but in my experience, one bowl turns into two, then three, then before you know it, you might as well finish the box! Avoid cereal at night and if you really must buy it, just eat it in the morning, and only eat one bowl.
15 Pastries and Sweets
Hopefully, you don't stock pastries like donuts, turnovers, fritters and sweets like cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc. in your house. These are way too tempting to grab at night. Your inhibitions are low at night, you're stressed or tired from the day, and your body is telling you it wants sugar for energy. What you really need to do, is just go to bed! Don't eat pastries and sweets at night unless you're looking to gain about 5 pounds a week easily, plus suffer from a drop in blood sugar in the middle of the night, waking you up.
Scratch these foods of your nighttime snack list and your body will thank you! There are definitely better food choices that can benefit you in the long run. Do you have a favorite healthy nighttime snack? Share it in the comments!
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