How to Stop Late-Night Cravings

It’s 11 p.m. and you’ve just scarfed down a slice of leftover pizza and a few too many Oreo cookies. The satisfying taste of salty and sweet is quickly overcome by guilt, frustration, and what is now an uncomfortably full belly. After eating balanced meals and healthy snacks all day, you are defeated by your late-night craving for junk food.

How can you avoid this self-defeating debacle? New research shows that eating a high-protein breakfast is the best way to avoid those p.m. cravings.

A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia showed that subjects who ate a high-protein breakfast had increased levels of satiety along with reductions in brain activity responsible for controlling food cravings that lasted into the evening.

The study looked at 20 overweight or obese adolescent females aged 18 to 20 years old. Participants were split into three groups: a high-protein breakfast group that consumed eggs and lean beef, a normal-protein breakfast group that ate ready-to-eat cereal, and a group that skipped breakfast. The breakfasts all consisted of about 350 calories and had similar fat, fiber, and sugar amounts.

The researchers found that those who ate breakfast had increased daily fullness compared to those who skipped, with the high-protein group having the greatest ratings of satiety throughout the day. Additionally, the high-protein group, but not the normal-protein group, had reduced levels of the hormones (ghrelin and peptide YY) that increase appetite compared to the no breakfast group.

With greater satiety and decreased appetite hormones, its no surprise that subjects in the high-protein group reported reduced evening snacking on high-fat foods. As lead researcher Professor Heather Leidy stated in a press release, “Eating a protein-rich breakfast impacts the drive to eat later in the day, when people are more likely to consume high-fat or high-sugar snacks.”

In addition to eating a breakfast rich in protein, here are some breakfast rules to follow so you can avoid late-night binging:

Bump up the Fiber: The faster a meal digests, the sooner you will feel hungry again. Simple sugars found in white flour products like pastries, doughnuts, or bagels can have you battling hunger pangs soon after eating. Make sure your breakfast has at least 5 grams of fiber to keep you feeling fuller, longer.

Don’t Forget the Fat: Fat takes longer to leave the stomach than protein or carbohydrates. Because of this, a little healthy fat can be beneficial in controlling cravings. Of course, a little fat goes a long way so be careful not to go overboard.

The 60-minute Rule: Try to eat your first meal of the day within an hour of waking. The longer a person waits to eat, the greater their hunger may be and it may be more difficult to feel satisfied. This can lead to overeating and making poor food choices. Instead, feed your body with a balanced breakfast and have control over cravings throughout the day.

Want a breakfast that has all the makings of a late-night craving killer? Look no further than Isagenix IsaLean Shakes. With 24 grams of high-quality protein, 8 grams of fiber, and a healthy balance of fat, IsaLean Shakes will have you feeling satisfied and confident with your food choice. Also, the ease and convenience of IsaLean Shakes will help you stick to the 60-minute rule so breakfast doesn’t turn into lunch. Say “no” to tempting junk food at night by starting your day off right with Isagenix.

Reference: Leidy HJ, Ortinau LC, Douglas SM, Hoertel HA. Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. Am J Clin Nutr 2013;97:677-88. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.053116