The Paleo Diet And Midnight Snacking

I’ll be the first to admit it…..I eat a lot at night, before I go to bed. Regardless of whether or not it’s a good idea to eat at all right before bed, most of the time my choice of food late at night, are not exactly the best possible. There ar

e always a number of totally Paleo-unfriendly foods in my house, because my family are not exactly Paleo, so I occasionally find my way into a bag of Tostito’s Corn chips. Sad but true.

Now, I have a problem with wanting to eat BEFORE I go to bed, but apparently there are buy cheap cialis a subset of people who regularly wake-up in the middle of the night, or the early hours of the morning, and eat anything that isn’t tied down.

So what about the Paleo Diet and midnight snacking? What is the cause for this, and what can be done about it?

Mark Sisson just published a blog article called “Dear Mark: Night Eating Syndrome“. I’ve personally never woken-up in the middle of the night, with the irresistible urge to eat junk-food, but If YOU happen to have this specific problem, then I’m happy to pass this information along to you. Let’s see what mark says….

“There’s nothing quite so powerful as the urge to eat. Being living organisms that require sustenance and nutrition, we find it difficult to resist. It’s not like smoking, or sex, or drugs, which you can technically avoid and still live, because they aren’t really required for an individual’s survival. No, food is an absolute necessity. So what happens when that basic human requirement for life – the need to eat something – conflicts with another important factor in health – the need to sleep? Today’s edition of Dear Mark deals with exactly that: night-eating syndrome, a real and extremely frustrating eating disorder in which the afflicted awaken during the night, compelled to eat everything and anything. As you’ll see from the following question, when you wake up at 3 AM with a raw, preternatural hunger gnawing at your very core, you’re probably not going to throw together a nice spinach, kale, and watercress salad in lemon vinaigrette and poach a few pastured eggs. You’re going to grab what’s available and what’s easy and what satisfies that carnal urge”

“with night-eating syndrome (PDF), they’re still trying to figure out the etiology, the cause of it all. From what we can tell, someone with night-eating syndrome has lower melatonin at night, which weakens their REM sleep. They have lower leptin, which is an appetite suppressant. Their ghrelin (an appetite stimulant) is phased forward by five hours, meaning they get hungry ahead of “when they should.” They have higher thyroid stimulating hormone (which is also seen in hypothyroid, as the thyroid is trying to “stimulate” more hormone production because it’s lacking). In response to a corticotropin-releasing hormone test, they release less cortisol, which suggests a depleted (overworked, overstressed)

hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). They snack more throughout the day and tend to skip breakfast. Rather than eat solid meals, they graze. All signs seem to suggest that both troughs and spikes of their hormonal cycles are muted; since the body needs acute spikes and drops for proper functioning and signaling, this could pose a problem.

So while we don’t have the absolute cause pinned down, it seems like the HPA, or the stress response system, are involved. I do have some general advice. Some of these may not apply to you, but take a look and see if anything looks familiar.”

I’m not going to ruin the whole thing and quote ALL of the details here….you should go on over to the original article on Mark’s blog, and read the rest….but for now, here’s a summary of the points he makes:

  • Don’t fast, or skip meals
  • Eat Breakfast, and make it big
  • Eat Meals, not snacks
  • Watch your Fructose intake
  • If you’re training too much or too hard, either cut back or support it with adequate nutrition and recovery time
  • Turn off the electronics after dark, and use candles
  • Consider light therapy, especially if you’re indoors during the day
  • Practice stress reduction and avoidance
  • Last, but not least, be honest as you appraise your lifestyle

Marks finishes up with…..

“While the reigning uncertainty with

regards to the cause of this situation is frustrating, you can use this opportunity to try a bunch of different tactics. I hope it helps.”


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Barry Cripps is a Paleo-based, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, who operates out of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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