If you're prone to munching before you go to bed, you've probably wondered what the best late night snack is for your waistline. After all, eating at night doesn't have the best reputation for your health, especially when you're trying to lose weight. But recent research shows that you might not need to give up snacking at a late hour — as long as you pick the right snack, that is.
An October 2018 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition analyzed 10 women who ate cottage cheese 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Researchers found that found that consuming 30 grams of protein from cottage cheese about 30 minutes before bed seemed to have a positive effect on muscle quality, metabolism, and overall health. The best part? There was no gain in body fat, which is probably the biggest fear of late-night snackers.
Something that stands out about this study is that it's one of the first in which participants consumed a whole food instead of a protein shake or supplement.
"Until now, we presumed that whole foods would act similarly to the data on supplemental protein, but we had no real evidence," said Michael Ormsbee, PhD, in a press release. "This is important because it adds to the body of literature that indicates that whole foods work just as well as protein supplementation, and it gives people options for pre-sleep nutrition that go beyond powders and shaker bottles."
Now, researchers are excited to explore the possibilities of other healthy whole foods that might be good for people to eat before they go to sleep. That said, it's important to keep in mind that just because a certain food is a healthy choice during the day doesn't necessarily mean it's a great option for late at night.
"While we can't generalize for all whole foods as we have only utilized cottage cheese, this research will hopefully open the door to future studies doing just that," said Dr. Ormsbee.
Meanwhile, we know what food we're adding to our next grocery list!
Next, check out the tastiest superfoods that can help you live longer in the video below: