Late-night snacking is usually frowned upon if you’re aiming to lose weight. But if you have diabetes, having a high-protein, low-fat snack before you go to bed may help stabilize your blood sugar levels overnight.
What late-night snacking does to blood glucose levelsYour blood sugar levels change throughout the night. If you have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, these fluctuations may result in high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) in the morning. Fortunately, having the right kind of snack before bedtime can help balance these levels.
Your blood sugar levels change during the night because of two processes:
- The dawn phenomenon – Between 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., your blood sugar levels increase as part of the process of waking up. This results in high blood sugar levels in the morning.
- The Somogyi effect – Your blood sugar levels drop significantly from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. The body responds by releasing hormones that increase your blood glucose again. But it can release too much of these hormones, which also causes high blood sugar levels in the morning.
If you have diabetes, you can determine how your blood glucose levels change throughout the night by taking readings at various points. For example, you can take it just before bed, between 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., then again after you wake up.
When you do things you enjoy, be it a run, mediation or other hobby, you become happier, which helps you make healthier choices throughout the day.
TheAmerican Diabetes Association (ADA) warns that being overweight or obese increases the risk of diabetes-related complications. Knowing how your body processes glucose is essential if you want to choose healthier snacks before bed.
Healthy late-night snacks that can lower blood glucose levels
If you want to personalize your late-night snacks based on your weight goals and how your body reacts to sugar overnight, consult a dietician. Generally, the best snacks for each person will depend on how your body responds to the dawn phenomenon and the Somogyi effect, along with other factors like personal preferences, health goals, and timing.
While there isn’t much data about the ideal bedtime snack, experts recommend options that containhealthy fats andlimited carbohydrates. The snack should also be full ofprotein. Foods that meet these criteria will help limit blood glucose spikes during the night and help keep lower blood glucose levels in the morning.
Eat the following snacks moderately before your bedtime to manage your blood glucose levels and curb unhealthy cravings.
Carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices
Non-starchy vegetables are the perfect snack if you have diabetes. They’re very low in calories, carbs, and fats, but they’re also full of vitamins and minerals.
Carrots, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers also contain antioxidants and fiber that improve both gut and heart health. (: Maintaining heart health may be the key to diabetes prevention.)
Deep heat. Sun rays can burn even through thick glass, and under water. Up to 35% of UVB rays and 85% of UVA rays penetrate thick glass, while 50% of UVB rays and 75% of UVA rays penetrate a meter of water and wet cotton clothing. Which means you’ll need sunscreen while driving your car on holiday, and water resistant block if you’re swimming.
NutsAlmonds, peanuts, and walnuts are rich in vitamins, minerals, and good fats. In a 2011 study published in Metabolism – Clinical and Experimental, researchers found that incorporating almonds into the diets of volunteers with Type 2 diabetes for 12 weeks improved their blood sugar and lowered heart disease risk.
Almonds reduce the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, which can block the arteries. The nuts also increase the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol, which helps remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries.
A large egg contains 6.29 g of protein. Eggs also contain very few carbohydrates.
Sliced apple and peanut butterPeanut butter is rich in protein, as well as fiber and healthy fats. Apples contain various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Cut an apple and add a light spread of peanut butter on each slice. Alternatively, you can try other nut butters like almond or cashew butter.
Sugar-free Greek yogurtYogurt is one of the healthiest types of dairy and it contains calcium and high-quality protein.
Even if you don’t have diabetes, following these tips can improve your snacking habits.
- Eat mindfully and savor each bite of food.
- Don’t eat snacks while you’re distracted, like when you’re reading or watching television.
- Plan meals and snacks ahead of time.
- Make nutritious snacks and avoid junk food.
Cut down on smoking and drinking. Have you ever met a smoker who is glad they started smoking? Neither have I. It is the single most destructive thing you can do to your body. Drinking can be harmful if you consume alcohol in excess or binge drink but, like most things, moderation is the key. A glass of red wine has even been proven to be good for the heart. But too much can be devastating to your health.
If you have diabetes, snacking on the right kinds of food can help you stabilize your blood glucose levels overnight.