Late night cravings might not be because we love food too much but because our brain tells us to eat more.
A new study published in the Brain Imaging and Behavior journal, stated that our bodies might have the tendency to consume more foods at night as food might not have the same satiety impact as it does during the day.
The reason may be the fact that at night we may get less satisfaction from eating which leads to us wanting to eat even more to obtain the feeling of satisfaction, explained the lead author of the study Travis Masterson.
During the experiment of the study, 15 women were shown 360 images representing foods during two sessions . The participants looked at the pictures once throughout the day and once during the night. The pictures represented images of a variety of food from fruits, vegetables, fish, candy, chocolate, doughnuts, ice cream, fast foods and so on.
In this time, researchers analysed the activity of their brain with the use of magnetic resonance.
The brain scans helped researchers determine how the brain perceives foods with different calories during different periods of the day.
The results showed that the brain had different levels of activity in both sessions. When looking at images of foods high in calories their brains showed increase brain activity.What it was intriguing to see, was that the brain had a lower activity level when looking at the images at night.
This means that the brain might understand differently the concept of eating and getting full at night. It doesn’t experiment the same level of food satisfaction as it would do during the day, leading to wanting to eat much more.
The result was a little surprising, as it was expected for the brain to show heightened levels of activity at night since people have the habit of consuming more during late hours, explained the co-author of the research Lance Davidson from the Brigham Young University.
This might be the explanation for the fact that no matter how much we eat at night, our body doesn’t feel full and has the tendency of eating more and more.
For the moment, researchers don’t have an exact answer on why during the night food is not as rewarding as during the daytime but they assume it might be connected to the circadian rhythms of our body which schedules our activity and resting moments.
Snacking during the night is one of the causes of overweight and obesity and has also been linked to affecting the brain’s ability to learn and memorise.
People who have the tendency of snacking at night should try and educate themselves more on the matter and maybe find small tricks to contro this unhealthy habit. Experts advise to try and eat soemthing that is more satious and healthy, control the portions, drink plenty of water and a more drastical measure would be to lock the kitchen.
Image Source: FOODS4BETTERHEALTH