Can’t seem to resist a midnight snack before going to bed? Recent findings featured on say that this is due to your body clock, as your circadian system naturally increases your cravings at night.

To prove this, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School observed the behaviors of 12 healthy adults for 13 days in a laboratory setting with dim lighting.

The results showed that the participants felt the least hungry at 8:00 A.M. and the most hungry at 8:00 P.M. Interestingly, the circadian system also regulated cravings for certain tastes. Researchers found that the body is more likely to crave sweet, starchy, and salty foods during evenings.

“People who eat a lot in the evening, especially high-calorie foods and beverages, are more likely to be overweight or obese,” explains lead study author Steven Shea, Ph.D. and director for the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology at Oregon Health & Science University.

To avoid gaining too much weight, researchers recommend eating more during breakfast and lunch. At night, try to sleep earlier or, at least, lessen your intake of high-cholesterol and high-calorie foods that may contribute to weight gain.

(Photo by Charlyne via Flickr Creative Commons)

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