All-Nighters and Nutrition

by Chante

What happens when you stay up late (like when pulling an all-nighter) and don't eat till after you finally do sleep and wake up again in the morning?


Azri's reply:

Thank you Chante for your question. This is a very common question and while it is pretty technical in the details, I'll try to keep it as simple as possible.

Many people believe that by simply avoiding food altogether, they are able to burn fat and therefore lose weight. It seems quite appealing, if you think about it. Just starve, and burn a kilo or two in a couple of days. It's probably the fastest method that one can employ.

However, there is a big flaw in this belief. First of all, although you do burn a lot of fat because you deny your body of food, it is a short term success. Your body will turn to your fat reserves and burn them for energy, but because you went cold turkey on yourself, you will crave for food.

The moment you lose that willpower and start to eat (or in your case, you get up from bed and have a huge breakfast because you're hungry) your body will start absorbing EVERYTHING that you consume. Your body thinks that it's going to experience another famine and feels that it must absorb everything it can possibly afford to tide itself through another "food deprivation".

This means that you will gain even MORE weight.

This is why I do not recommend strange diets that tell you to avoid carbohydrates and so on. In my article about healthy eating guidelines, I've mentioned that you need every single nutrient there is, in varying amounts. Protein is important for skin and muscle development, carbohydrates provide you with energy and fat gives you warmth.

Neglecting your body of any one of these nutrients can have devastating consquences!

On the topic of all-nighters, you need to be careful because a lot of organs repair and rejuvenate themselves at night when you sleep. Staying up late does have adverse effects. Try to clock some rest between midnight to 4am. This is the critical rest period for the body.

But if you absolutely have to stay up, do get a high protein snack to tide you through. Perhaps a turkey bacon sandwich with egg will be decent. This is to prevent hunger pangs and keeping your body nourished while preventing you from having a heavy stomach when you go to bed.

The rule of thumb is to avoid food 2 hours before turning in. So keep all these tips when you are planning to burn the midnight oil. I do hope I've helped you Chante!

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