Several countries are experiencing an "obesity epidemic" at the moment. Dr. Steven Shea at the Oregon Health and Science University says that people who eat a lot in the evening are more likely to be overweight or obese. This is especially true if the evening snacks consist of high-calorie foods.
|Snacking in the evening can contribute to weight gain.|
Photo by clarita at morguefile.com
Another factor that can contribute to weight gain in the modern world is indoor lighting. We stay up later than our ancestors because we have good lighting that allows life to go on as normal. We're not encouraged to go to bed by lack of light. Staying up late is a problem because it gives us more time to eat and also because lack of sleep contributes to weight gain.
Some people are reluctant to eat breakfast, which usually means that they have to eat more food later in the day to compensate for the low calorie intake in the morning. Interestingly, avoiding breakfast and eating heavy meals later in the day is what Sumo wrestlers do to gain weight.
So how can we outwit our body's clock? Tips include:
- Eat larger meals or higher calorie foods earlier in the day instead of close to bedtime.
- Always try to eat something for breakfast, even if this is a light meal.
- If the urge to eat in the late evening is strong, make sure that the snack is tasty but low in calories.
- Go to bed earlier.
- Get a good night's sleep.