Late night eating and complications


By: Rebecca Sedinam Affor

Lots of Myths and Superstitious belief has surrounded late-night eating where in some parts of the Ghanaian setting, people were made to believe bad omens and bad dreams like a (cow, dog chasing one in his sleep) were associated with late-night eating. More so, having sleepless nights and waking up tired were what one is informed comes with late-night eating.

Most people are now well informed to know there is more to it than just what they think.

Education has gone down for people to understand the medical effects/ complications of  late night eating has on the body.

Reasons why one may choose to eat late:

There is a high influence on the patronization of late-night food due to the numerous restaurants and food vendors in the city. It may also be based on individual choices and reasons. Although articles, journals, and research have given healthy tips on how to live a healthy lifestyle and the effects of late-night eating on the body. The rate at which late-night eating in the city is compared to the rural area is very high.

People in rural areas sleep mostly early as compared to the people in the city. One may result in eating late as a result of many reasons; the night work system in the city, the closing time of people amongst others.

Aside from the myth surrounding late-night eating, most ladies are only concerned about keeping a “flat tummy” by avoiding late-night eating.

Ladies believe so much that eating late gives one a bigger belly, and the level at which men these days admire ladies with flat tummies is some sort of food for thought.

Medical facts about late-night eating

A Research Assistant at Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research, Mr. Kojo Aidoo, who is a Dietician in an interview shared some insights.

On the complications one is likely to suffer from as a result of late-night eating, Mr. Aidoo was simply blunt.

“It is unhealthy for anyone to eat after 6 pm,” he posited.

Mr. Aidoo explained that late-night eating involves eating after ten to twelve hours in the day during the wake period because the body has a 24-hour system of wake-sleep cycles. He added that during the “wake period”, enough enzymes needed for digestion are produced, while less enzymes are produced for digestion after twelve hours. He added that the wake period is from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., which is exactly twelve hours, therefore, anything eaten after this time is unhealthy for the body.

Effect/complications of late-night eating on the body

  1. Increase the risk of being overweight or obese; during the night or late in the day, slow production of enzymes and hormones is low causing reduction in the rate of digestion and metabolism. This may then result in weight gain especially in the abdominal region (truncal obesity).
  2. Postprandial hyperglycemia; this has to do with high levels of sugar in the blood, therefore when one eats late the sugar level goes up, which is medically worrying.
  3. Increase risk of acid reflux; depending on the size of the quantity of meal consumed , eating late may increase your risk of acid reflux, especially if one goes back to bed shortly after eating.


Doctors recommend practical steps to overcome late-night eating.

  1. Eat within 10-12 hours of the day averagely between the periods of 6 am to 6 pm in the day.
  2. Eat regularly during the day, it is recommended that an individual eats three times in the day, (breakfast 6-8am, lunch 12-2pm and dinner 4-6pm).
  3. Sleep early if possible because the longer one stays awake in the night, the likelihood that one will feel hungry and may want to eat.
  4. Avoid keeping snacks at home.
  5. Brushing one tooth in the evening is good because it is like telling the body one is done eating for the day.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *