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Biology, Sport

Confession – I always have a nighttime snack.

I need to have a snack before bed. Otherwise I lay awake thinking about how hungry I am, wake up in the middle of the night grumpy about life, and barely make it to breakfast in the morning. Eating it does not stop me from eating breakfast. It does let me take a little longer to eat my breakfast which is good as I find that getting a lot of food down quickly is just not really my thing in the morning.

But, we’ve always heard, don’t eat before bed. Stop eating two hours before bed. Is this a myth or fact? Am I negatively affecting my health when I have my night time snack?

Well, I couldn’t find anything in published journals. I’m sure there is stuff, I’m just not using the right search terms. Which leaves me with good ol’ Google. The problem with Google though is that really anyone can post anything. I found an article in The Times, that explains all the reasons why having the right bedtime snack is good for you. I also found an article in The Globe and Mail that said that you shouldn’t have the snack. I am no further ahead. Except maybe I am. The Times article talks about stabilizing blood sugar levels (yes please) and slowing the release of hormones that say you’re hungry (and also tell your body to store fat). The Globe and Mail article talks about it making people not eat breakfast (not a problem here).

So, while I’m looking for scientific evidence as to whether or not I should be eating my nighttime snack perhaps the better course of action is to listen to my body. There are real benefits to eating that snack for me. And I’m not gorging on a bag of chips, or eating ice cream every night. Popcorn and cinnamon toast are two of my most popular. Rice pudding on a good night. Some fresh berries when they’re in season. Or some canned peaches in a pinch. Yep, totally see all of those making me pack on the pounds.

The other thing is, I’m active, so it can take me the entire day to get in enough calories to keep me going. So perhaps, and this is what the article in The Times suggests, there are people who need to eat that nighttime snack. And we can do it so long as we choose appropriate snacks and don’t go over on the number of calories we need in a day. I mean are the calories really watching the clock and thinking oh, it’s after 8:00 pm I better be stored as fat now?

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About Peyto

I am passionate about making science, sustainability, and sport accessible through engaging information and activities. Peyto is a reference to Bill Peyto who was an outfitter, trapper, and eventually a park warden in Banff National Park. Peyto Lake and Peyto Glacier are both named after him. He is also a distant relative of mine.

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