10 Foods You Should Avoid at Night

There is a debate about whether or not it's healthy to eat at night. Discover the 10 foods you should avoid at night.
10 Foods You Should Avoid at Night

Written by Daniela Andarcia

Last update: 10 May, 2023

There are many concerns that arise with the idea of whether or not it’s healthy to eat at night. This is because eating late at night is linked to weight gain, not being able to fall asleep, or having nightmares, leading some to avoid dinner. With this in mind, we want to talk to you about the 10 foods you should avoid at night.

According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, most people who eat close to bedtime tend to eat more calories than those who don’t. Why? The secret isn’t in the time you eat, but in what you eat. If the food you eat contains a lot of calories, your weight will likely increase and you may also suffer from sleep disorders. Keep reading to learn more.

Foods to avoid at night

You may be very tired, but if the food you eat before bed is high in calories, the result will be a bad rest without good sleep. Try not to eat these foods that you should avoid at night.

1. Pizza

It’s a fact that this is one of the most favorite junk foods, however, it can be harmful to eat. Most pizzas are made with refined dough, high-fat cheese, and processed meat, making it a high-calorie dinner.

In addition to this, the acidity of the tomato sauce could cause discomfort or heartburn. Therefore, eating pizza won’t only make you gain weight, but it can also prevent you from sleeping peacefully.

Pizza at night.
Eating pizza at night provides a large number of calories unless you opt for homemade and healthy versions.

2. Sweetened cereals

The vast majority of cereals are manufactured with a high content of added sugar in the industry. Consuming this type of product at night increases blood glucose levels, so the body will have to work harder and, as a result, you’ll have a lack of sleep.

According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, decreasing sugar intake increases sleep in adults. Besides, cereals are usually accompanied with milk and dairy products are known to contain good levels of fat, an element that helps to gain weight if you consume it at night.

3. Ice cream or sugary drinks

Some ice creams contain milk, but sugar is what you should avoid the most in this dessert. The same goes for sugary drinks. The latter aren’t recommended at any time of the day.

Consuming large amounts of sugar will keep you awake most of the night. According to a study published in Hepatology, sugar can cause fatty liver disease. It also promotes insulin resistance, which leads to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

4. Fried, grilled, or roasted foods

These are too heavy to be consumed in the hours before bedtime, so they’re among the foods you should avoid at night. They can cause reflux or make it impossible to fall asleep. Apart from being high-calorie foods, they contain chemical compounds that are harmful to health.

A study published in Environment International showed that foods prepared at high temperatures cause heart disease and increase the risk of abnormal cell mutations. Part of this is explained by the transformation of lipids into trans fats.

5. Pasta

Just like sugar works, the simple carbohydrates in pasta will turn into fat, especially if you go to bed immediately after eating. Consuming pasta at night can cause you to wake up intermittently during sleep.

As an alternative, we have whole wheat pasta. It contains more fiber than the conventional type and, therefore, lowers the level of sugar in the blood.

6. Coffee

It’s proven that coffee brings many benefits. People who love this drink are less likely to suffer from Parkinson’s or type 2 diabetes. But despite its gifts, there are two aspects that indicate that you shouldn’t consume it at night.

The first thing to remember is that its main substance is caffeine, which will remain in your body for a long time before being metabolized. According to research, excessive use of the substance can lead to sleep-disordered breathing, known as sleep apnea.

The second aspect is due to the fact that sugar, additives, creams, or syrups are frequently added to the coffee. These are harmful to health at any time of the day, but even more so when it’s time to sleep, which translates into an increase in body fat.

7. Hot sauce

A study of 6 healthy young adult men found that consuming hot or Tabasco sauce and mustard disturbed sleep. Body temperature rises when people are in their first sleep cycle and this keeps them awake longer.

8. Chocolate

A sweet chocolate bar won’t allow you to sleep. Rather, it will keep you awake for most of the night thanks to the caffeine and added sugar. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that those who used to consume a lot of sugar at night have difficulties reaching deep sleep and maintaining their rest without interruptions.

9. Processed cheese

Don’t be fooled, processed cheese is made with chemicals that only help it look good. Avoid serving it at dinner in its melted form, as the only thing you’ll achieve is weight gain.

10. Celery

Celery has antihypertensive properties, works as a natural diuretic, and is an excellent addition to your diet. However, it’s a food you should avoid at night because it can cause you to get up several times to urinate and, as a consequence, interrupt your sleep.

Celery on a table.
Celery is a diuretic, so it’ll stimulate the bladder and force you to interrupt your sleep to go to the bathroom.

What does it mean to eat late?

Although it may not seem like it, another study also agrees that when you eat hours before bedtime, you tend to eat more, so you ultimately consume more calories. Apparently, it’s not just this. People who tend to eat late also tend to choose poorer foods.

It’s believed that there are various reasons for this behavior, but those who have night jobs consume foods that aren’t very favorable for health. This can be due to stress, sadness, anxiety, or even hunger. The truth is that most health food establishments are closed late at night.

The trick is to correctly choose the foods that you’ll consume at night. Taking care of the amount of calories is essential to avoid harming health or gaining weight.

So what foods can you eat? Choose those low in calories and with a high nutritional value. Some snacks that you can afford after dinner are the following:

  • A bowl of grapes
  • Apple pieces
  • Carrot sticks
  • Plain popcorn

What to remember about the foods you should avoid at night?

There’s no need to skip dinner, as eating at night brings benefits. What you should avoid is consuming foods with high caloric content. There’s a study that reaffirms that eating a breakfast with more calories produces less anxiety to obtain large amounts of food at night, thanks to the fact that it keeps you more satisfied for longer.

Avoid at all costs eating products with a high caloric content hours before going to bed. If you tend to eat more at night than during the day, you may tend to consume calories that, in the long run, are transformed into body fat. If you get hungry after dinner, try choosing more nutritious foods.

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