Food for Thought: Late night snacks


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Have you ever finished your dinner, feel comfortably full but still want to munch at night? If so, you’re not alone and there are many explanations why.

The desire to munch, even though you’re full may not be a lack of will power. Getting the munchies and over eating may be a brain chemical problem. Research shows overweight people have an overactive chemical feedback system that triggers them to eat more.

High fat, high carb foods like cake, cookies and chips activate the cannibal receptors in the brain and increase appetite. This chemical is said to be similar to the chemical found in marijuana that triggers the munchies. Experts say you can do some things to block those feeding frenzy receptors.

  • First, do not buy your frenzy foods. If you don’t buy them, you don’t eat them, and you don’t activate the cannabinoid receptors.
  • Second, only cook the amount you’re allowed to eat. If you cook an entire box of mac and cheese, for example, you will eat more than if you cook your one cup serving.
  • Third, activate the feeling of fullness by eating high fiber foods and eating slowly. It takes 20 minutes or more for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full.
  • Finally, use small forks and spoons so you eat more slowly.

If you still need a snack at night. Snack on high-protein foods like shrimp cocktail or yogurt. Unlike carb-filled fatty foods, protein foods usually do not trigger overeating.

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