Late-night snacking: Willpower or hormones?

ORLANDO, Fla. - Ice cream, potato chips, cheese, pretzels, late-night cravings can wreck a healthy diet and mess with your mind and your waistline. 

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Why it seems harder for some people to resist 

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity, building on earlier work, including a 2013 Harvard study, found circadian rhythms play a role in regulating appetite. Hunger actually peaks in the evening and is lowest in the morning. 

When do you feel hungry?

Evening hunger may be an evolutionary adaptation to help us get through the night. For millions of years we didn’t have access to food at night, or as soon as you woke up. Researchers believe today, with easy access to food any time day or night, the evolutionary adaptation is backfiring, leading to a loss of control and nighttime binges. 

How can you satisfy a late-night hunger pang?

Instead of reaching for that chocolate ice cream, try some nutritionist approved late-night snacks, including: high-fiber cereal and milk, a couple of slices of white meat turkey, hard boiled eggs, a banana or apple with peanut butter, or a handful of nuts. 

Some of the worst foods you should avoid at night include anything heavy and high-fat such as fries or pizza. Cheap Chinese or steak and other red meats are also no-no’s. You should avoid beans or canned soups, and anything with caffeine. 

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