Do You Crave Late Night Snacks?

13 Jul

You should be in bed but instead you are wandering around the kitchen searching for something to eat.  How many times are you going to open the refrigerator door hoping something new and delicious is going to appear that was not there 30 seconds ago? If this description fits you, then you are not alone.  Countless people are the victims of late night cravings.

In a newly published study, exercise science professors and a neuroscientist at Brigham Young University used MRIs to measure how people’s brains respond to high and low-calorie food images at different times of the day.  The results showed that images of food, especially high-calorie food, can generate spikes in brain activity, but those neural responses are lower in the evening.

Lead study author Dr. Travis Masterson notes, “You might over-consume at night because food is not as rewarding, at least visually at that time of day… It may not be as satisfying to eat at night so you eat more to try to get satisfied.”  In other words, when you eat at night, your brain is just not as satisfied as when you eat at other times during the day.  Just knowing your brain is “tricking” you and that you do not actually need more food may help you avoid late night binges, weight gain, and the associated health risks.

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