Late-Night Snacking May Have A Surprising Effect On Your Memory

Scientists have long known that chowing down late at night can have negative effects on our bodies, from weight gain to an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Now, a new study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that late-night eating can wreak havoc on our brains, too. The research showed that making a habit of munching on midnight meals may impair our ability to learn new things and store memories.

“We believe that late-night snacking may affect our learning capabilities by affecting the parts of the brain responsible for learning and memory, specifically, the hippocampus,” Dr. Dawn Loh, a project scientist at the university and lead author of the study, told The Huffington Post. “The timing of food consumption is what we believe to be the primary cause of the impaired memory that we describe.”

For the study, which was published last month in the online journal eLife, the researchers analyzed the behavior and cognitive abilities of mice who were put on strict feeding schedules. Over a two-week period, the mice were either allowed to eat during the time of day when they tend to be the most active, or only during the time of day when they tend to sleep, New Scientist reported.

Despite having these different feeding schedules, the mice received the same amount of sleep and caloric intake.

Then, the researchers tested the cognitive abilities of the mice by measuring their performance on behavioral tests. In one test, the researchers determined how well the mice could remember that a specific room chamber was associated with an unpleasant-yet-mild electric shock after 24 hours had gone by.

The researchers noticed that, when the mice were placed in the room again, those who ate when they should have —> Read More