3

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Late-night cravings

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 01, 2011 at 4:09 PM

I'm usually good at eating paleo during the day. Late at night is when cravings for sugar/carbs really kick in. If I give in I feel awful the next day, so clearly it isn't good for me. Any thoughts on why it's consistently in the evenings? Or how to more effectively combat it?

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on October 03, 2011
at 06:05 PM

What's been fixing me up lately is in my blender a frozen banana, frozen blueberries, milk, a bit of vanilla and fresh lemon juice. Its thick and cold, just sweet enough that it could fix your craving. Chocolate at night keeps me up, my little shake experiment doesn't effect my sleep at all. I should note that I do workout heavy during the week and am not trying to lose weight, just staying strong lean and mean.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on October 03, 2011
at 06:04 PM

What's been fixing me up lately is in my blender a frozen banana, frozen blueberries, mile, a bit of vanilla and fresh lemon juice. Its thick and cold, just sweet enough that it could fix your craving. Chocolate at night keeps me up, my little shake experiment doesn't effect my sleep at all. I should note that I do workout heavy during the week and am not trying to lose weight, just staying strong lean and mean.

1d9af5db8833413037be3ac48964714f

(3789)

on October 01, 2011
at 11:07 PM

I find a square of 90% dark chocolate works pretty well to get rid of cravings, and I really can't overeat the stuff.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 01, 2011
at 10:28 PM

I think once you have the evening cravings it's too late, so I agree that prevention starts with a high fat/high protein breakfast. I usually eat my carbs in afternoon or evening; I may or may not eat more protein based on how I feel. If I get breakfast exactly right, I frequently have no need to eat again until the next morning.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on October 01, 2011
at 08:43 PM

I've been Paleo off and on for a couple of months, gluten-free for about four years. I just moved about a month ago, so I am still acclimating to my routine here, and finding healthy food sources. The consensus seems to be to up my intake of good fats. The only Greek yogurt I can find is lower in fat, though I will look more.

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6 Answers

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5
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 01, 2011
at 06:18 PM

The same happens to me. During the working hours and until 8 PM I have no problem but after 8 I start to crave sugar. The interesting part is that I never craved sugar before in my life. I tried many times just to eat more low carb stuff but it doesn't help. I didn't yet investigate coconut oil since I recently found out some people use it for cravings.

Now, black chocolate usually satisfies my cravings, but recently I was using 1 standard ice cream. It stops my craving ASAP and nothing really changed, I even started to lose weight. Sinc most of the day I don't eat a lot of carbs, with that ice cream providing like 25g of carbs I am still low carb.

Science tells us that its probably not so bad to eat sugar at the evening. Salivary amylase is at its lowest which means digestion is not very efficient and it boosts serotonin which is needed for good sleep as it is precursor to melatonin.

You could try 5-HTP supplement which is usually used to stop it, but now, after reading more aobout tryptophan, I am not sure its such a good idea.

So, I suggest you indulge your craving, not overeat sugar ofc, and see how it goes. Try to find some quality stuff, like chestnut paste or good ice cream with lots of fat and no trans fats etc... there are good carbs out there. If nothing else, use 30-50g 7o% dark chocolate as it is sweat enough and still valuable nutrient.

3
B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on October 03, 2011
at 02:44 PM

I remember mentioning this book to you before, but I'll do it again: Lights Out. It has a theory on food cravings and sleep. It has been a while since I've read it, thus, I don't remember the specifics but basically, it goes something like this:

  • Sleep controls appetite.
  • Bad sleep = food cravings and weight gain and immune system decline and TV reruns
  • Good sleep = happy happy joy joy, you rock

Okay, I found a section in the book that will spell it out (page 90-91):

When you're tired, you really are experiencing massive metabolic derangement between you and the bacteria controlling your immune system and reproduction, which is translating to mental abberations.

Short nights that mimic summer mean:

  • Reduced melatonin secretion, which reduces white cell immune function;
  • A severe reduction in the most potent antioxidant you have- melatonin;
  • Less prolactin at night and way too much in the daytime (prolactin secretion at night means more and stronger NK and T cells. Prolactin secretion during the day means autoimmunity and carbohydrate cravings).

But the biggest problem with short nights year-round, beyond appetite derangement, is that insulin will stay higher during the dark, when it should be flat, and cortisol falls so late it won't come up normally in the morning. This is a reversal of normal hormonal rhythyms. You should wake up with elevated cortisol to deal with the stress during the day. You should wake up hungry with low insulin and cortisol rising. Instead, your cortisol is low and your insulin is still up.

And it goes on and on, the take home message? Going to sleep when the lights go out (i.e. sundown) and waking up when lights come back on should help reduce cravings. Though, this might not be an easily enacted solution to your problem ....

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on October 01, 2011
at 08:14 PM

I eat 4 eggs and 2 tbsp of butter for breakfast. Meat instead of eggs would work as well. This breakfast should help with the cravings later on.

EDIT:

Also go to bed earlier. Grehlin levels ramp from the time of your last meal. late at night they get very high. Go to bed early and avoid the issue all together. You need at least 7.5 hours of sleep anyways...

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on October 01, 2011
at 10:28 PM

I think once you have the evening cravings it's too late, so I agree that prevention starts with a high fat/high protein breakfast. I usually eat my carbs in afternoon or evening; I may or may not eat more protein based on how I feel. If I get breakfast exactly right, I frequently have no need to eat again until the next morning.

1
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 01, 2011
at 05:36 PM

My guess is that your brain is still used to treating stress with sugar/carbs. I'd recommend looking into ways to manage stress and/or reduce cortisol levels. I particularly like assisted meditation ... i.e., listening to classical music for 20 minutes as a regular practice.

0
C534cb215f9d03b75e8961ff88ea9837

on October 02, 2011
at 07:33 PM

If your craving carbs and sugar at night while watching tv for instance, try an apple. Some are not good on fruit due to fructose however if like me your able to process it without too much ado then they make great snack food. Other tv nibbles include strong cheese on almond & butter biscuits, topped with slice of strawberry. Have fun making up your own treats, just stay clear of the processed rubbish. Once free of sugar addiction, foods that once seemed mundane and boring are in actual fact simply great. For instance, I used to like nothing more than several chocolate biscuits with a cup of tea containing 2 heaped teaspoons of sugar. Now free from the addiction I enjoy even more a dish with a few pieces of chopped fruit, say apple n pear, a sprinkling of pecan nuts topped with real greek yoghurt and a dusting of cinnamon.

0
2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on October 01, 2011
at 08:37 PM

Few things, how long have you been eating "paleo"? You might be going through the low carb flu which for some people never occurs and others can be experienced for as long as a month.

I would make sure you are eating enough fat. I know for me, when I first started I was still afraid, or not used to including fat into my diet on purpose. If you can tolerate diary, full fat greek yogurt is a great snack. You can add in some berries to help w/ your cravings and since berries are not as high in sugar as compared to other fruits, can help with getting you out of your addiction.

Your body is adjusting, so just make sure you are still supplying it with energy. The difference is that energy now should be coming from fat. Your body is still used to burning sugar for most of its energy demands.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on October 01, 2011
at 08:43 PM

I've been Paleo off and on for a couple of months, gluten-free for about four years. I just moved about a month ago, so I am still acclimating to my routine here, and finding healthy food sources. The consensus seems to be to up my intake of good fats. The only Greek yogurt I can find is lower in fat, though I will look more.

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