If you are expecting you may want to restrict your daily food intake after 7 p.m. According to a study, women you eat late at night and have poor diet during pregnancy are more likely to gain weight. The study was published in the journal Nutrients. These women are three times more likely to experience postpartum weight retention of five kilogrammes or more, 18 months after giving birth.
For the research, the team drew data from a large scale birth cohort study, GUSTO (Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes).
“Our research, based on multi-ethnic Asian women, shows that although predominantly night eating and lower diet quality have been independently linked with weight gain, practising night eating along with low diet quality demonstrated the greatest likelihood of substantial postpartum weight gain and retention even after 18 months,” study lead author Loy See Ling.
Retaining more weight after the first year of giving birth is associated with higher body mass index even at 15 years postpartum, said the researchers.
It is also common knowledge that weight retention after childbearing is more harmful than weight gain in other stages of life. This is because the retained body fat is typically deposited in the abdomen (visceral fat) rather than in other parts of the body.
The increased body weight may have a negative effect not only on the mother’s lifelong health including, metabolic and cardiovascular disease consequences but also on subsequent pregnancies. It may even prove detrimental to the health of her child.
Overall, 16 per cent of the 687 pregnant women involved in the study gained and retained five kilogrammes or more at 18 months after giving birth.
Researchers said that they observed more weight retention among ladies who ate at night with higher diet quality, as opposed to those practising predominantly day eating with lower diet quality. The latter showed weaker association with postpartum weight retention. They suggested that night eating may be potentially more damaging than lower diet quality when it comes to postpartum weight retention
“Our body systems have evolved to metabolise food during the day and rest during the night. Hence, consuming more calories at night than day mismatches our body’s natural body time clock by disrupting the metabolic rhythm in various organs such as liver, stomach, pancreas, fat tissue, resulting in disruption of energy metabolism,” said study researcher Fabian Yap.