The Worst Snacks You Can Eat Before Going to Bed

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Don’t do a late-night binge session, especially with these snacks
Put Down The Ice Cream...
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“Typically, snacking at night is not caused by hunger but, rather, boredom,” says Rene Ficek, a registered dietitian and the lead nutrition expert at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating, a fresh meal delivery service in Illinois. “Additionally, the types of food that are snacked on are usually high-calorie, indulgent food items like ice cream, cake, and chips. Combine these two factors and it is very likely that the snacker is overconsuming total daily calories, thus resulting in weight gain.”

But it isn’t just your waistline you need to worry about when snacking at night...

Put Down The Ice Cream...

Put Down The Ice Cream...
iStock/Thinkstock

“Typically, snacking at night is not caused by hunger but, rather, boredom,” says Rene Ficek, a registered dietitian and the lead nutrition expert at Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating, a fresh meal delivery service in Illinois. “Additionally, the types of food that are snacked on are usually high-calorie, indulgent food items like ice cream, cake, and chips. Combine these two factors and it is very likely that the snacker is overconsuming total daily calories, thus resulting in weight gain.”

But it isn’t just your waistline you need to worry about when snacking at night...

Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol and Caffeine
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“The worst things you can consume before bed are anything with caffeine or alcohol,” advises Gochnour. “Both will disrupt the body from sleep. Alcohol may relax a person, but it will interfere with the stages of restorative sleep.”   

Cakes and Cookies

Cakes and Cookies
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“Eating cakes and cookies late at night spike your sugar, creating an intense hunger in the morning,” warns Goldseker. “Chocolate chip cookies are another late night no-no,” confirms Barrie Wolfe, a nutritionist with a private practice in Westchester County, New York. “They are loaded with fat, calories and sugar. The sugar and caffeine from the chocolate will make you feel hyper and make it that much harder to get a good night’s sleep.”

Chocolate

Chocolate
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“Chocolate anything,” emphasizes Jennifer Cassetta. nutritionist and personal trainer. “As much as I love it, there is caffeine in chocolate, even the good kind (dark chocolate 70% cacao or more). If you are sensitive to caffeine, this can disrupt your sleep.”

Gelato or Sorbet

Gelato or Sorbet
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“Marketing for gelato and sorbet is so innocent, so you choose them instead of a pint of ice cream, when in fact you’re getting more fat and the same sugar,” says Cellini. “This isn’t good, because you are usually in denial about the fact that these ice cream alternatives are just as unhealthy.”

Hazelnut Spread

Hazelnut Spread
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“Nothing sparks weight gain like high fat with high sugar,” warns Cellini. “Hazelnut spreads like Nutella have a two tablespoons serving size equal to (if not higher than, depending on the brand) a half cup ice cream.”

Ice Cream

Ice Cream
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“The amount of sugar in ice cream will spike insulin levels and your treat will be saved as fat instead of being burned off during the day,” explains Cassetta. “Dairy leaves you clogged and congested,” adds Goldseker. Having ice cream at night only doubles the effects, because the mucus has time to accumulate all night.”

Pasta

Pasta
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“Eating carbs at night wreaks havoc on insulin levels when we sleep,” says Traci Mitchell, a health and fitness expert, and author of The Belly Burn Plan: A 6 Week Plan for Eating and Exercising for Your Body Type. “More importantly, insulin interferes with the release of human growth hormone (HGH). When we don't get enough HGH, we're slow to develop muscle and we begin to show signs of aging much faster!”

Pretzels and Chips

Pretzels and Chips
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“These are salt-laden refined snacks,” explains Goldseker. “Having them at night results in bloat and puffiness in the morning. The sodium makes the body retain water and appear swollen in the face, abdomen, and extremities. Talk about hung-over!”