Is Your Late-Night Snacking Hurting You at Work the Next Day?

Unhealthy late-night eating—specifically junk food and snacks—makes many folks inclined to avoid work-related tasks

Is Your Late-Night Snacking Hurting You at Work the Next Day?

Doctors have long known that late-night indulgence in drugs and alcohol can cause serious problems at work—increasing the risk of accidents and missed deadlines. Now there is evidence that late-night unhealthy eating also triggers physical problems, such as headaches, stomachaches and diarrhea, and emotional strains that negatively impact how people behave at work throughout the next day.

That's the conclusion of a new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Researchers found that unhealthy late-night eating—specifically junk food and snacks—makes many folks inclined to avoid work-related tasks the next day and to be withdrawn and unhelpful around colleagues. More proof, say the researchers, that both what and when you eat has far-reaching effects on your wellbeing.


"The big takeaway here is that we now know unhealthy eating can have almost immediate effects on workplace performance," says Seonghee Cho, study co-author and assistant professor of psychology at North Carolina State University.

The solution? To rehab your dietary choices and improve your work performance adopt a plant-based diet, free of red meats, egg yolks, added sugars, fried and ultra-processed foods. Confine your eating to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and eat 80% of your calories before 3 p.m.



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Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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