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9 Worst Late Night Snacks

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9 Worst Late Night Snacks

By Allie Firestone, DivineCaroline

I’m the queen of the late-night snack. I picked up the habit as a college student living in San Diego, finishing way too many nights at 24-hour Mexican food joints. Ever since my first taste of those carne asada fries (basically nachos heaped on top of French fries), I was hooked on “the fourth meal”—fries, thick-crusted pizza, spicy nachos—you name it, I’ll eat it. Unfortunately, my favorite meal often has me scarfing the absolute worst things to put in my body at 2 a.m. Now, as a supposed grownup with a not-quite-as-fast metabolism, I wondered which foods are better choices when late-night hunger pangs strike.

According the Mayo Clinic, no particular foods help us sleep better. On the other hand, there are foods that can wreak havoc on our shut-eye. I dug around and found out which foods to avoid and which to choose to evade that next-day food hangover.

Heavy, High-Fat Meals
My beloved carne asada fries and thick-crust cheesy pizza fall into this category. These choices are bad, bad, bad if we’re looking to get a restful sleep post-feast. The cheese and oil are made of fat, which sits in our digestive tract the longest of any type of food. To push it through, our bodies require a bunch of energy—this makes it tricky to get cozy.

Fiery Food
Eating too much hot sauce or spicy chips can cause physical discomfort when it’s time to lie down—especially if you’re prone to heartburn, like me. “Spicy food also gives you an endorphin rush, making it that much harder to get to sleep,” says Lynn Smithson, a San Diego-based nutritionist. Since spiciness keeps our brains running on full power far longer than the time it takes to consume it, saving the spice-induced endorphin rush for daylight is probably a safe bet.

Caffeine
The stimulant is found in a lot more than a cup of coffee. Candy, ice cream, and especially that dark chocolate bar stashed in the freezer can contain as much as a cup of coffee does. Caffeine increases the activity of our nervous systems, keeping our thoughts racing as we lie in bed.

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Insomnia,

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At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

140 comments

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11:58PM PST on Jan 26, 2014

great info! thanks!

4:46PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Thanks.

8:28PM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

thanks

2:14AM PDT on May 16, 2011

Thanks for the great info.

1:41PM PDT on May 1, 2011

Nice to know.

6:12PM PDT on Apr 27, 2011

Thanks for the info!

8:16AM PDT on Apr 24, 2011

Thank you for the info

8:02PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

I don't even eat these foods anyways! I usually eat organic foods from Whole Foods! Well, thanks for this awesome article! :D

1:58AM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

When I was a college kid, I used to be able to eat anything, until I was about 22-23...

I always make home made soups, and well, I always cook extra so I can make "TV dinners" to put into the freezer.

Good to know I can have my steak and eggs breakfast, and I guess I'll just have to eat my spicy for lunch then.

What will help is to lay on your left side, which helps aid in digestion.

9:55PM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

I think it is a norm with all young people to indulge in late night snacking all over the world, I cannot even stop my own children as the lifestyle of today is such BUT I would like to mention here that in India our elders like my grandparents and even my mother ALWAYS USED TO INSIST to finish food by 8.30pm latest and would not allow anything after that as she said as much you need rest your digestive system also needs rest. But in today's time when the work regime pushes well into 8.30pm where can this norm be adhered to that's why we have so many young obese people around with all sorts of ailment in their 30s

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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