These late-night snack ideas will keep you alert, healthy
You’ve probably heard by now that having a late dinner and indulging in midnight snacking is a one-way ticket to insomnia, weight gain and poor eating habits.
But for night owls who veg out in the wee hours watching sports or Netflix marathons, the reality isn’t all that dire, goodfood.com.au wrote.
“There’s no magical time of day when you suddenly stop burning calories and store them away as fat,” said accredited practicing dietitian Georgia Bevan.
“Your metabolism is the fire that continues to slowly burn away calories throughout the day and night, even when you’re sleeping.”
Consequently, late-night snacking doesn’t automatically get turned to fat. “We simply digest the nutrients and use them as we need to, which suggests that the calories we consume in the evening don’t have any more impact on our weight than they do during the day,” she said.
That said, it’s still wise to watch those cravings for sugary, salty and starchy junk foods.
“When you’re so intent on the game, you’re just reaching for the snack table and not being mindful of what you’re eating or your satiety cues,” said Brisbane nutritionist Tracie Connor.
“You also require energy boosts and stimulants to stay awake, and that’s what naturally propels you to reach for those sugary and starchy carbs,” she said.
Watching high-energy action sports with friends may also drive you to pick up that extra slice of pizza, even though you’re full.
“While such behaviors short-term won’t be as harmful towards your health — although you may experience the odd sleepless night or acid reflux — it’s still important to maintain a balance that allows you to enjoy your time and indulgences but safeguards your health long-term,” Connor said.
The best TV-watching snacks are low in energy and loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats and complex carbs, which naturally and steadily release energy to keep us awake without the need for caffeine.
If friends are coming around to watch a game, pack your table with healthy snacks alongside a couple of treats for everyone to pick at.
Victorian naturopath Chantelle Bell suggested keeping an eye on portions so you don’t end up eating too much.
“A smart way to minimize your calories is to place high-calorie snacks, those rich in saturated fat, salt and sugars, into smaller bowls and serve healthier snacks in larger bowls,” Bell said.
“If you stick to eating only what you have in front of you, this will protect your health and prevent you from overeating too many unhealthy items.”
And if you’re visiting friends, take along your own healthy snacks so you know there’s something nutritious to nibble on.
Foods containing tyramine
“Tyramine is an amino acid that’s known to naturally stimulate brain activity, and helps you remain awake at night for quite a long time,” Connor said.
“Fermented foods like sourdough bread, aged cheeses, cured meat, sauerkraut and sour cream contain tyramine.”
Raw vegies and dips
Munching on plant-based snacks packed with iron and other nutrients is a great way to fill up naturally, especially if they have high fiber content.
Try avocado on sourdough, vegetable sticks such as carrots and celery, and legume-based dips such as hummus, which are high in protein and fiber.
Better chips and crackers
“If you love to snack on chips, opt for baked chips or ones cooked in healthier oils rather than greasy fried chips,” Connor said. Serve with fresh salsa or homemade guacamole for a healthier yet delicious snack.
Popcorn is a satisfying high-fiber p.m. crunch — as long as you give the butter a swerve. Instead, add extra kick with dried spices, cinnamon, black pepper or a light sprinkle of grated cheese.
Wholegrain crackers are a high-fiber option and can be combined with cheese, peanut butter or tahini for extra protein.
Roasted chickpeas, broad beans and edamame are an easy and satisfying pick-me-up that tend to be high in iron and protein, too.
Fresh fruits and nuts
When hunger pangs set in, grab seasonal fruits packed with vitamin C, such as oranges and pineapple.
Snack on handfuls of unsalted raw almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios and pecans. Or make your own high-fiber trail mix by mixing nuts with raisins and goji berries.
“For the more savory options, pour a small serving of peanuts cooked in coconut oil, as they can be quite addictive and are high in calories,” Connor said.
Dark chocolate is a natural pick-me-up, perhaps due to the caffeine it contains, but don’t use this as an excuse to overindulge. Like anything dessert-worthy, consume in moderation during the early hours and keep it to two pieces.
Eat healthier in your day
“Have a healthier breakfast and lunch on the days you know you’ll stay up late and snack,” Bell said.
“If you usually have dinner around 6 or 7 p.m. you may want to move it to 9 p.m., knowing that you’re going to be snacking later on. This way you’ll possibly snack less and won’t essentially be having a second dinner.”
But don’t skip meals in favor of snacking — instead, try to eat when hungry.
“Therefore, if you’re hungry at your usual dinner time then eat dinner, perhaps a smaller portion compared to normal, because if you skip dinner or any meal when you’re hungry it’s more likely you’ll overeat snacks,” Connor said.
On a night when you’re up late watching a game, drinking and snacking, the best dinner option is one with plenty of vegies and salad, and a serve of protein with healthy fats, Connor said.
Refrain from eating anything at least two hours before bedtime to allow for proper digestion.
Be aware of fast-food commercials that can trigger cravings for burgers and other takeaway food.
“If food ads make you hungry, don’t watch them,” Connor said.
“It’s about willpower ... walk away when the ads are on and if you’re feeling the craving ask yourself if it’s something you really and truly want.
“If it is, and you reach for your phone to order home delivery, then just allow yourself to have it guilt-free.”
When it comes to fast food generally, try to avoid relying on takeaway as much as possible.
“Once a week is plenty and think about saving these temptations for during the finals if you want to celebrate in that way,” Connor said.
Ebola drugs show ‘90 percent survival rate’ in breakthrough trial
Ebola may soon be a “preventable and treatable” disease after a trial of two drugs showed significantly improved survival rates, scientists said.
Four drugs were trialed on patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there is a major outbreak of the virus, BBC wrote.
More than 90 percent of infected people can survive if treated early with the most effective drugs, the research showed.
The drugs will now be used to treat all patients with the disease in DR Congo, according to health officials.
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which co-sponsored the trial, said the results are “very good news” for the fight against Ebola.
The drugs, named REGN-EB3 and mAb114, work by attacking the Ebola virus with antibodies, neutralizing its impact on human cells.
They are the “first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have clearly shown a significant diminution in mortality” for Ebola patients, said Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID.
REGN-EB3 and mAb114 were developed using antibodies harvested from survivors of Ebola, which has killed more than 1,800 people in DR Congo in the past year.
Two other treatments, called ZMapp and Remdesivir, have been dropped from trials as they were found to be less effective.
The trial, conducted by an international research group coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), began in November last year.
Since then, four experimental drugs have been tested on around 700 patients, with the preliminary results from the first 499 now known.
Of the patients given the two more effective drugs, 29 percent on REGN-EB3 and 34 percent on mAb114 died, NIAID said.
In contrast, 49 percent on ZMapp and 53 percent on Remdesivir died in the study, the agency said.
The survival rate among patients with low levels of the virus in their blood was as high as 94 percent when they were given REGN-EB3, and 89 percent when on mAb114, the agency said.
The findings mean health authorities can “stress to people that more than 90 percent of people survive” if they are treated early, said Sabue Mulangu, an infectious-disease researcher who worked on the trial.
Hailing the success of the study, Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity, said the treatments would “undoubtedly save lives”.
The findings, Farrar said, indicate scientists are getting closer to turning Ebola into a “preventable and treatable” disease.
“We won’t ever get rid of Ebola but we should be able to stop these outbreaks from turning into major national and regional epidemics,” he added.
A sense that Ebola is incurable, paired with widespread mistrust of medical workers in the DR Congo, has hampered efforts to stop the spread of the disease.
It is hoped that the effectiveness of the drugs, made by US-based pharmaceutical firms, will make patients feel “more comfortable about seeking care early”, said Fauci.
But the best way to end the outbreak, he added, is “with a good vaccine”. A vaccine is a type of medicine that improves immunity to a particular disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) say vaccines developed to protect against Ebola, which are allowed for “compassionate use” before official licensing, have proven highly effective.
The current outbreak in eastern DR Congo began in August last year and is the biggest of the 10 to hit the country since 1976, when the virus was first discovered.
In July, the WHO declared the Ebola crisis in the country a “public health emergency of international concern”.
But it is dwarfed by the West African epidemic of 2014-16, which affected 28,616 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. About 11,310 people died in what was the largest outbreak of the virus ever recorded.
However, attempts to contain the latest outbreak are proving difficult. In particular, suspicion towards foreign medical assistance, among other things, have hindered efforts .
Earlier this month, three Congolese doctors were arrested in DR Congo over the killing of a WHO medic.
About 200 health facilities have been attacked in the country this year, causing disruption to vaccinations and treatments. In one incident, family members assaulted health workers who were overseeing the burial of their relative.
A 2018 study published in the Lancet medical journal said “belief in misinformation was widespread” concerning the Ebola outbreak.
Nearly 40 percent of people under the age of 45 who have flexible working conditions believe it has offered marked improvements in their mental health, a new survey claimed, workplaceinsight.net reported.