Have you ever gone to a restaurant in Spain before 9 pm? You would have found the place deserted & empty? Spanish people have a habit of having dinner late at night, between 9 pm & midnight.

Is such a habit healthy for our body? Not really, having dinner late at night is linked to Obesity, high blood sugar levels & type-II diabetes. According to a recent study those with obesity are more likely to consume more meals later in the day, specifically after 8 pm. Another study conducted by Northwestern university found that having a meal later in the day leads to consumption of more calories which could lead to weight gain. However, the question arises if you have a controlled calories intake, would eating late at night still lead to weight gain compared to eating the same amount of calories earlier in the day. Late dinners have unhealthy effects on our fat & sugar metabolism which in long term can increase the risk of weight gain, obesity & type-II diabetes.

After any meal, level of glucose, triglycerides (main form of fat in the blood), free fatty acids (breakdown product of fat in diet), rate of fat oxidation (fat burn), insulin & cortisol (our body’s stress hormone) undergo huge changes. It is also interesting to figure out the impact of late dinner on sleep patterns & our body’s metabolic response. We have discussed in our earlier blog Melatonin (the sleep hormone) inhibits secretion of insulin & brain does not require insulin to get the fuel (glucose) for proper functioning during night. It is melatonin which ensures that the brain is supplied with sufficient glucose for it to function normally.

After consuming a meal, your sugar level begins to rise since carbohydrate is broken down into glucose by gut & absorbed into bloodstream. In order to help glucose’s entry from blood to tissue, the pancreas also releases insulin.

When we go to sleep, our body undergoes various metabolic changes. Our basal metabolic rate decreases which essentially means we expend less energy. We become less sensitive to insulin since our body through melatonin maintains a steady level of glucose which is used by the brain for normal functioning.

Having a large amount of food before sleep can impact your normal sleep related metabolic changes. This can lead to a negative impact on your health if you make late night dinner a habit.

Increase in blood glucose level due to late night eating would be further exacerbated due to inhibition of insulin secretion at night (sleep related metabolic changes). This can lead to very high levels of sugar after eating – a mechanism called postprandial hyperglycemia. Over time, this can damage blood vessels & also result in type-II diabetes. Besides, reduced fat breakdown after late dinner coupled with sleep related metabolic changes can lead to fat deposition in the body & result in weight gain.

However, this may not be considered as a standard rule or issue with everyone. Some of us, due to our genetic composition, may be more exposed to the negative impact of having late night dinner as compared to others. Early sleepers are believed to have great changes in sugar level & fat metabolism in response to late dinner.

Genetics do have a role to play here. As discussed in our earlier blog (referenced above) on sleep hormone, MTNR1B gene of Melatonin has a profound impact on suppressing Insulin secretion. G variant of MT 1B receptor (for melatonin) suppresses secretion of Insulin more strongly leading to excessive blood sugar level since lower levels of insulin makes it difficult to transport glucose from blood to tissues.

Discover your personal trait to figure out if you’re genetically predisposed to high sugar level after having late night dinner. We use genetic traits & insights to provide you with a comprehensive & personalised fitness solution through our live online fitness coaching that will help you embrace a lifestyle change. Whether you are a corporate employee,a homemaker or someone looking to have an athletic build, our personalised solution is delivered by our international certified fitness coaches will help you achieve your fitness goals. Sign up here https://thesushantkumar.com/online-fitness-coaching/

Author's Bio: 

Passion for Fitness is a global fitness company that offers genomics based online fitness coaching solution for folks who do not have time to take care of their health. They offer a curated nutrition & workout plan based on genetic code of their customers & help them adopt a healthy lifestyle to aid with their fitness goals. They are serving customers from across the globe.