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Late Snacking could Damage Your Brain

Categories: Articles,Christian Hjortland

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Do you have a habit of eating late? New research says it could have a negative impact on your brain.

According to a recent study, eating late meals could have a negative impact on learning and memory functions. The University of California is behind the study, that was published in the journal eLife.
Dawn Loh, first author of the study said: “We have provided the first evidence that taking regular meals at the wrong time of day has far-reaching effects for learning and memory.”

The study, that was made on mice, found that mice who were fed regularly during their sleep time were significantly less able to remember an object, and their long-term memory was also greatly reduced.

The researchers have good reasons to believe that this is true for humans as well. They point to shift workers, where it has been shown that they perform worse on cognitive tests.

“Since many people find themselves working or playing during times when they’d normally be asleep, it is important to know that this could dull some of the functions of the brain.”, Dawn Loh continued.

Professor Christopher Colwell, one of the researchers said: “Modern schedules can lead us to eat around the clock so it is important to understand how the timing of food can impact cogitation…For the first time, we have shown that simply adjusting the time when food is made available alters the molecular clock in the hippocampus and can alter the cognitive performance of mice.”
It may even play a role of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Even though it is common in some cultures to eat late meals, these findings are not a new idea. The following statement, penned by Ellen G. White in 1905, reads:
Another pernicious habit is that of eating just before bedtime. The regular meals may have been taken; but because there is a sense of faintness, more food is eaten. By indulgence this wrong practice becomes a habit and often so firmly fixed that it is thought impossible to sleep without food. As a result of eating late suppers, the digestive process is continued through the sleeping hours. But though the stomach works constantly, its work is not properly accomplished. The sleep is often disturbed with unpleasant dreams, and in the morning the person awakes unrefreshed and with little relish for breakfast. When we lie down to rest, the stomach should have its work all done, that it, as well as the other organs of the body, may enjoy rest. For persons of sedentary habits, late suppers are particularly harmful. With them the disturbance created is often the beginning of disease that ends in death.  – Ministry of Healing p. 303

To those who feel like they need to eat late, the same author suggests:
“If you feel that you must eat at night, take a drink of cold water, and in the morning you will feel much better for not having eaten.”—4T p. 502