5 Nightly Habits That Secretly Increase Belly Fat

What if we told you that some bad bedtime habits have a negative impact on your weight, especially unwanted belly fat? Well, that’s what we’re here to break up with you today. Eat this, not that! spoke to The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, CDN, CFTAND Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT, who share some nocturnal habits that could increase belly fat. Before you roll down the bed and make yourself comfortable, listen!

Let’s get real: Some routines are hard to break. But The Nutrition Twins has given us some bedtime rituals you might want to stop as soon as possible, especially if you don’t want stubborn fat to build up in your belly.

two glasses of milk

Some people like warm milk before bed to help them fall asleep. It’s no wonder, because this drink is high in tryptophan, an amino acid that can help you relax and feel better. The bad news is that the extra calories aren’t doing your waistline any favors.

The Nutrition Twins warn: “If this is a new nightly habit for you and you start drinking 12 ounces of milk before bed each night and change nothing else in your diet, you will gain 12 pounds over the course of six months and the Your belly is one of the most common places to see it.If you opt for skim milk, you’ll still gain more than six pounds in six months.

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woman using phone in bed, side effects of not sleeping

If you’re scrolling before falling asleep, put your phone down as soon as possible! “The blue light emitted by cell phones and computers suppresses melatonin and disrupts your circadian rhythm and a good night’s sleep,” say The Nutrition Twins. “When you’re not sleeping deeply, the brain wants energy and craves sugar. It’s easy to end up overeating sugary foods in an effort to keep the brain awake. Also, without getting enough sleep, hormones are impacted, making it harder to maintain metabolism.” -increase lean muscle tissue and increase body fat more easily.

man pouring himself a cup of coffee

Caffeine is a real killer when it comes to solid Z’s. It should come as no surprise that drinking a potent cup of joe too late in the day can keep you up at night. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, caffeine consumed six hours before bed can really mess things up, wreaking havoc on a restful night’s sleep. This is true not only for your sleep patterns but also when it comes to weight gain. Harvard Health Publishing reports that a sleep deficit is linked to increased levels of the hormone ghrelin which makes you hungrier and can contribute to weight gain.

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woman snacking in bed

Sure, staying up late catching up on your favorite movies is understandably addicting, but binging on shows can lead to binging on unhealthy snacks! According to research, TV streaming is linked to increased calorie intake and poor diet. Also, commercials aren’t always the best influences; they can really make you crave unhealthy snacks while watching TV!

steak dinner

Eating too close to bedtime is a big no-no. Ideally, you should eat your last meal of the day three or more hours before bed, The Nutrition Twins explain. “When we sleep, we shut down digestion and work to repair and heal our bodies,” they add. “If there is food that needs to be digested in the intestines, it takes the body’s attention away from healing, as it focuses on digesting the food. While you sleep, the body tries to reserve energy, restore and repair, those calories are not they’re not used well and can end up with a dreaded fate, like belly fat.”

Research reveals that eating meals too late alters the circadian rhythm, negatively affecting blood sugar regulation and fat metabolism. Additionally, eating a large meal dangerously close to bedtime can trigger heartburn and indigestion, which can totally interfere with even the best night’s sleep. This can also lead to unhealthy cravings and eating more than planned the following day.

Alexa Melardo

Alexa is the Deputy Mind + Body Director of Eat This, Not That!, who oversees the M+B channel and brings readers interesting topics on fitness, wellness and self-care. Read more about Alexa

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