Australian dietitian Susie Burrell (pictured) warns against large meals, high fat snacks, wine with dinner and caffeine consumption
While a calorie deficit, a regular exercise routine and balanced meals will help you achieve your health and fitness goals, there are four evening diet mistakes that will undo your hard work.
Australian dietitian Susie Burrell of Shape Me warns against large meals, high fat snacks, wine with dinner and caffeine consumption after 7pm as they have a damaging impact on your health – especially in the long term.
Large late night meals are harmful for the heart while too much wine will lead to stored calories and unwanted body fat, particularly around your stomach.
1. EATING LARGE MEALS
‘Consuming a significant number of calories late in the day when you are more likely to be sitting and moving very little lead to indigestion and abdominal discomfort,’ Susie said.
The heavy evening meals can also result in hormonal changes that are linked to long term weight gain.
‘Research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress reported that individuals who consumed a significant number of calories after 7pm each night had the highest increases in blood pressure overnight,’ Susie added.
‘High blood pressure is linked to an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Susie said a light meal like fish and vegetables is the best option if you are unable to eat dinner before 7pm.
Susie said a light meal like fish and vegetables is the best option if you are unable to eat dinner before 7pm
2. CONSUMING FATTY FOOD AND SNACKS
Susie warns against indulging in too many high fat foods like ice cream, chocolate and biscuits late at night as they are linked to an in crease in blood fats.
‘High amounts of fat in the blood contribute to making the arteries “sticky”, increasing the risk of adverse heart events,’ Susie said.
She recommends opting for lower fat options like ‘Greek yoghurt and fruit, a little gelato or a couple of crackers with nut spread or cottage cheese’.
Revealed: Other long-term effects of regular heavy drinking
Brain: Drinking too much can affect your concentration, judgement, mood and memory. It increases your risk of having a stroke and developing dementia.
Heart: Heavy drinking increases your blood pressure and can lead to heart damage and heart attacks.
Liver: Drinking 3 to 4 standard drinks a day increases your risk of developing liver cancer. Long-term heavy drinking also puts you at increased risk of liver cirrhosis (scarring) and death.
Stomach: Drinking even 1 to 2 standard drinks a day increases your risk of stomach and bowel cancer, as well as stomach ulcers.
Fertility: Regular heavy drinking reduces men’s testosterone levels, sperm count and fertility. For women, drinking too much can affect their periods.
Source: Health Direct
3. DRINKING ALCOHOL
While a glass or two of wine is a regular evening routine for many, few are aware that alcohol consumption leads to a higher percentage of the calories from food being stored instead of burned.
This is because the body prioritises metabolising alcohol over food.
‘If you are drinking a number of alcoholic drinks along with a heavy meal, chances are you will be on the weight gain cycle, which will be exacerbated the later into the evening you are eating and drinking,’ Susie said.
‘Eat your last meal of the day as early as you can and indulge in 1 – 2 alcoholic drinks minus the extra food when you do enjoy an evening drink.’
Alcohol also impacts the body’s hormone systems and their ability to work properly, therefore impacting reproduction, energy levels, blood pressure, development and mood.
‘Alcohol is an oestrogenic agent so it’s going to elevate your oestrogen levels which for most women will result in a higher accumulation of body fat and hormonal imbalances,’ Australian personal trainer and nutrition coach Sarah Hopkins said on her podcast.
‘If you’ve got something like PCOS, endometriosis or fibroids it’s almost imperative that you significantly reduce alcohol and certainly consider completely cutting it out.’
The Australian Guidelines recommend healthy adults should drink no more than two standard drinks on any day to cut the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.
While a glass or two of wine is regular evening routine for many, few are aware that alcohol consumption leads to a higher percentage of the calories from food being stored instead of burned
What are Susie Burrell’s ‘coffee rules’?
The way you take your coffee and timing of when you enjoy it is crucial to control your appetite, caffeine intake, insulin (the hormone that can make you fat) and glucose levels as well as your calorie intake.
Ideally the body needs at least 2-3 hours without food in between meals which means that milk coffees including flat whites, capps and lattes need to be enjoyed with a meal or mid-morning or afternoon snack, not as an extra.
And most importantly, my favourite mantra is, ‘no one needs a large coffee’, super-sized coffee cups equate to a small meal worth of calories and are indeed often the reason that people cannot lose weight, particularly when downing two of these each day and then sitting for 10-12 hours straight.
4. DRINKING CAFFEINE
Susie urges people to remember that cola drinks, dark chocolate, cacao and tea (other than herbal tea) contain caffeine.
‘A hearty serve of dark chocolate along with a hot chocolate made with cacao or cup of tea will give you close to 80mg of caffeine or a similar amount to that in a cup of coffee,’ she said.
‘The effects of caffeine include an inability to sleep, restlessness and heart palpitations which can be experienced for up to 4-6 hours after the caffeine is consumed.’
According to Dr Siobhan Banks from the Sleep Health Foundation, there is a connection between sleep loss and weight gain.
‘It certainly seems that there is some sort of connection. A fair amount of literature does signal that if you have less sleep… you’re at higher risk of being overweight or obese,’ Dr Banks told the ABC.
‘If you’re sleep deprived, your body just isn’t quite coping as it should.
‘So when you then put on top of that the likelihood that you’re going to eat naughty foods… those things mixed together can lead to either higher circulating glucose levels, so you’re more likely to put on fat, or your body becoming desensitised to those increased hormones, which then can lead to type 2 diabetes.’
How to detox your bedroom: Five simple steps for good ‘sleep hygiene’
Genevieve Rosen-Billen is the brains behind the linen bedding company Bed Threads, and she told FEMAIL that while you might not realise it, there are myriad common things preventing us from getting good rest.
1. Go screen-free
‘Binge-watching Netflix in bed, scrolling through Instagram while wrapped up in the sheets or replying to emails before you doze off is a recipe for disaster as far as sleep is concerned,’ Genevieve said.
This is primarily due to the fact that all of our screens – from our laptops to our iPads, phones and TVs – emit artificial blue light, which delays the release of melatonin, the hormone that produces sleep.
‘Screens are stimulants: they keep your brain fizzing and whirring long into the evening, blocking any chance you might have of dozing off naturally,’ Genevieve said.
2. Buy an alarm clock
If you’re not going to rely on your smartphone to get you up in the morning, chances are you’re going to need to invest in some sort of alarm.
One of the advantages of an alarm clock over a phone alarm is that many of them come with lights – so if you wake up in the middle of the night and want to know the time, you can find out without having to look at the stimulating blue light on your phone.
3. Upgrade your bed
If you’re serious about detoxing your bedroom, you need to upgrade your bed.
‘The bed frame, mattress and pillows should all be switched out for high quality, non-toxic alternatives where possible,’ she said.
‘When it comes to the frame, think about one made from sustainable materials such as recycled steel and without volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which could be negatively impacting the air quality in your room.’
4. Change your sheets
‘As a general rule of thumb, you should be sleeping in natural fibres like flax linen, as these help to regulate your sleeping temperature by encouraging air flow around the body,’ Genevieve explained.
They also don’t have any harsh chemicals ‘which could irritate or impact your skin’.
Linen is the best fabric to sleep in as it is hypo-allergenic, temperature regulating, moisture wicking, bio-degradable and low impact.
‘Detoxing isn’t just about removing physical toxins from your bedroom, it’s also about cleansing away the mental ones too,’ Genevieve said.
‘The best way to do this is get rid of all the mess, especially around your bed. Clear away the mess on your bedside table and pare it back to the essentials like your alarm clock, lamp, a moisturiser and a book.
‘Try and keep the area around your bed neat and tidy as well, ensuring that you reduce the visual stress crowding your bed and impacting you in subconscious ways right before you crawl under the covers,’ she added.
Then, turn your attention to your scented candles and find out whether they are made from ‘harmful substances like paraffin, which emit toxic fumes’, and replace them with beeswax or vegetable-based oils.