One would ask, what pizza night has to do with the morning coffee?
We have all heard the advice that we should not eat late in the evening. Nobody seems to take this seriously unless they are trying to lose weight. The focus has been always on weight but this is just a secondary effect of out late night habits.
In the animal kingdom there is no food eating after sunset. I’m talking about the animals that are on the circadian (daylight) cycle. Some friends were telling me they are night birds. Let’s not compare humans with the nocturnal animals because our genetics are not made to run certain anabolic processes at that time. Is this asking a question of the validity of lab mice testing? Yes it does. Mice are nocturnal.
So what is more important then gaining weight?
I want to tell another side that is not explained by your physician, school or mainstream media. In order to have motivation we also need to understand why we need to do certain things to reduce the conflict between our evening social events and our biology.
Food consumed before bedtime or overnight changes our hormonal response. During the day we have certain hormones running the show and night another crowd comes in to do a completely different job. We all have heard about the hormone called insulin. And especially that is tied to diabetes. To get there many processes have been altered along the way. Our lifestyle is not making difficult at all.
The insulin level spike up and remain higher up to four hours after a meal. Insulin is an anabolic hormone. That means is helping the cells to acquire nutrients for energy production. Also it’s selecting for certain type of nutrients to be used. It blocks and delays certain processes in order to accomplish its tasks. There are other daytime hormones and processes involved in digestion that are disrupting your night sleep.
At first we notice an issue that we don’t sleep well. We need a coffee in the morning really bad. Well if you are looking for that coffee so bad what everybody is telling you?
It’s telling you that you have an addiction. That is not quite accurate. You need that coffee to boost up a daytime hormone. That coffee cup is raising the cortisol levels. This is the hormone it’s working with our neurons and water to wake us up. It is too low so we need more of it to feel alert and function properly. The coffee also helps with hydration, as water is really necessary for energy creation at the cell level.
Until we get to the morning coffee cup there is an entire script that needs to play at night. Taking in consideration that we have eaten and had alcoholic or sugar loaded beverages the script will unfold as follows:
- Food/drinks triggers insulin response
- Two hours after sleep Leptin reports energy stored – Insulin blocks it’s production. So the brain doesn’t really know how much fat is really stored.
- We might look chubby in the mirror but not for the brain.
- On high insulin level prolactin is not produced by the anterior pituitary gland so our maintenance is postponed. This is cell maintenance and it keep us not only healthy but increasing our longevity. Now wonder if your daily antioxidant supplements make any progress in a cell that doesn’t get anything fixed. This leads up from poor energy performance up to genetic mutations that leads to chronic diseases like Alzheimer and cancer.
- Growth Hormone (HGH) is delayed and it’s usually in very low quantity. Our muscles will suffer the most. If you love to go to the gym that muscle repair that you hope to get doesn’t happen. Instead you will use up stem cells affecting your longevity. A lot of Cross-fitters are looking nice but only on the outside. I will write a special blog on this. Sleep apnea is a very common issue these days. The doctors are adding a device to help with breathing but it does not fix the problem. It fixes some issues caused by hypoxia (lack of oxygen) but it will not fix any throat muscle issue. Without enabling repair at cellular level any attempt to solve this problem is futile.
This part of the big picture and it’s only from the food side of the story. Imagine when other factors are involved like the blue light stopping the melatonin production in the pineal gland.
There is also a cholesterol story tied to this repair session. Consistent high insulin levels are blocking the cholesterol from passing the blood brain barrier. We need it in our brain to rebuild damaged neurons.
Imagine cholesterol being like the cement that we use to build a brick house. You know it has a bad name because of the politics in medicine and science. In reality wide spread heart disease should be a think of the past by now if the cholesterol is the culprit. Most scientists tend to point fingers at particular chemicals, processes or genes but what we are missing is a systemic understanding of the human biology and now more than ever, it’s interaction with a new world, a social world.
The take away:
Making a few steps in the right direction regarding food timing is important before choosing any type diet or even if you don’t chose one. Have the last meal of the day 4 hours before going to bed and this will have a significant improvement in your body composition and hormonal balance. I know a lot of friends are getting really hungry at night. That is a light signaling issue in our brain and it isn’t a natural hunger. We’ll dim it down in the next blog.
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