Researchers at Brigham Young University has shed new light on why you and so many people you know have the habit of snacking late at night. Images of food will cause spikes in brain activity, research shows that the effect is less so at night since some areas of the brain don’t get the same ‘food high’ in the evening hours. The participants of the study were observed to be more preoccupied with food at night despite their levels of hunger and fullness being similar to those of other times of the day.
Lead author Travis Masterson explains the meaning of the results that one might over-consume at night because food is less rewarding at that time of day. Because of the low neural responses from food at night, one might eat more in an attempt to get more satisfaction from their food. Lance Davidson, the study’s coauthor, states that discovering that the brain responds at different times of the day could have implications for eating behaviors. The researchers that their study is in its preliminary steps and further work is necessary to better verify and understand the implications of the findings. The next steps are to research the extent that these varying neural responses translate into certain eating patterns, as well as determine any implications in regards to weight management. Masterson expresses that this study has helped him pay more attention to how foods make him feel in the morning and evening hours. When he does eat late at night, he tells himself that what he’s eating probably isn’t as satisfying as it should be, which helps him avoid snacking too much at night.
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