It's often believed that eating a meal at night will pack on the pounds. However, there are reasons that calorie loading or consuming late night super carbs can be beneficial.
Consuming calories and carbohydrates such as rice at night may be more beneficial for both your health and waistline than you think.
Eating a Meal at Night
Eating more food can actually lead to weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. Energy density is the number of calories or energy in a specific amount of food. High energy density means that there are a lot of calories in a little food, while low energy density means there are fewer calories in a greater amount of food.
Eating low energy density foods will help you feel fuller with less calories while any carbohydrates that are whole grains such as brown rice are higher in energy density. Calculating the amount of calories per gram of carbohydrates can be a useful tool for those wanting to eat a pre-sleep snack or meal without sacrificing their health or weight management goals.
Consuming Carbs for Better Health
Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients in any diet and help fuel the body by providing energy, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. There are a few different types of carbohydrates. The three main types of carbohydrates found in foods are sugars, starches and fiber.
Simple carbs including sugar are monosaccharides, which includes glucose, fructose and galactose. Monosaccharides are the building blocks of disaccharides such as sucrose and lactose. Complex carbs including starches and fiber are polysaccharides which include starch and cellulose.
4 Reasons to Eat More
Reason #1: Boost Your All-Day Energy
Consuming more calories or carbs at night can help early morning exercisers increase their endurance and/or level of physical activity. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that because carbohydrates are the primary fuel source burned for energy during physical activities, carbohydrate loading or eating carb-rich foods can maximize glycogen storage.
Reason #2: Rev up Your Metabolism
There are other surprising benefits of eating at night which include a pre-sleep snack or meal may have a positive impact on your metabolism in the morning. Eating before bed can make you less hungry the next morning or rev up your metabolism so the next day's breakfast may be burned off more quickly.
Reason #3: A Better Night's Sleep
Eating a melatonin-rich food such as rice along with other complex carbohydrates can help you have a better night's sleep, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle, helping you fall and stay asleep, as its levels increase at night and come down in the morning. Rather than pop a pill, consume rice as a melatonin-packed meal before bed for a restful night's sleep.
Reason #4: Curb Your Cravings
Consuming calories and/or carbohydrates before hitting the sack may actually reduce your appetite the next morning. Eating a meal higher in carbs or calories at night, explains the Cleveland Clinic, can help your body feel full, which can curb your appetite in the morning, leading to a smaller breakfast. This caloric deficit can benefit those looking to lose or even maintain their weight.