Cereal is a general term for grasses that are cultivated for their edible grains. They are the largest source of food crops in the world. And usually in America and many other countries in the world, cereals are widely eaten as breakfast!
However, what happens when you make it a habit to eat cereal at night? This article will answer that question as well as explain the other effects that eating cereal can have on the body.
Disclaimer: You must always consult your doctor before including a new supplement or food into your daily routine as only your doctor can explain any pros or cons that are specific to you. Some supplements & foods may interfere with medications and/or cause allergic reactions.
Eating Cereal Before Bed: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Studies show that 8.75 million Americans consume ten portions of cold cereal as breakfast in 1 week. That might have something to do with the plethora of vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates that they contain.
When properly combined in a diet, breakfast cereal provides energy in a simple way and in a short time. But many cereals also have high sugar content, and that can have an adverse effect too.
Eating cereal before bed has quite a number of effects on the body too. While some of these effects are beneficial, some may make you think twice before you eat cereal at night.
Here are some of the effects that eating cereal before bed might cause:
1. Restless Sleep
Eating sugary cereals at night will cause the blood sugar level of your body to increase. It might also cause an increase in insulin level, and when this happens, you become restless, active, and unable to relax.
A high level of insulin can make one hyper, and also cause some undesirable symptoms like frequent urination, increased thirst, and so on.
2. Weight Gain
Cereals that have low fiber content and are rich in sugar can cause an increase in calories, leading to an increase in weight.
Eating these types of cereals at night, especially when you have eaten other calorie-rich meals in the day, will cause your calorie number to go above the healthy limit, and in time, an increase in weight will be observed.
Furthermore eating cereal before bed when you may not have the opportunity to digest the food properly or exert the energy they give you will also cause weight gain.
3. Increase in Appetite
An increase in the sugar intake content of the body can also cause an increase in appetite. Eating processed cereals at night – especially those low in fiber and rich in sugar – will make you hungrier than normal the next morning.
4. More Efficient Workout Session
This is perhaps one of the aspects of eating cereal before bed that might have a positive effect on the body.
After an evening workout, eating cereal as a bedtime snack might be a good choice as it will help replenish the energy you might have lost during your workout, it also helps that they are easy and fast to digest.
5. May Prevent You From Eating Other Late-Night Snacks
One of the spokespeople for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Malina Malkani, says that eating a high-fiber cereal before bed offers a filling light snack that might help to prevent snacking on other foods that might not be healthy. In her words:
“Eating a light snack that offers a satiating balance of fiber, protein, and fat helps me sleep better and avoid excess late-night snacking on foods that don’t promote my health.”
General Effects Of Eating Cereal On The Body
Cereal, especially fortified ones that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers protein, and carbs, serve as balanced meals, more so when they are combined with legumes and fruits.
Below are some effects that eating cereal might have on the body.
1. Prevents Constipation
The common causes of constipation can be linked to low fiber intake. Cereal contains different fibers like pectin and cellulose and as such can prove very helpful in preventing constipation.
The fibers in cereal improve digestion and movement of waste down the gastrointestinal tract. They also increase the bulk of the stool and make them easy to pass out.
2. Reduces Risk of Heart Diseases
Wholegrains cereals are an excellent source of different and important minerals and phytochemicals that might help to lower the risk of getting heart diseases.
They contain saponins, oryzanol, phytosterols, and antioxidants that can reduce blood cholesterol levels, thereby protecting the heart and lowering the risk of coronary heart diseases.
3. May Prevent Cancer
Various protective chemicals can be found in unrefined cereals. Some of these chemicals like lignan and phytic acids can slow down or prevent cancer in human beings and animals. Phytic acid is especially known to prevent the development of colon cancers.
4. Good Source of Energy
Cereals are great sources of energy. They contain carbohydrates, proteins, and other nutrients that can help you maintain your energy level throughout the day.
Side effects of eating cereals
1. Increase Acidosis in the Stomach
Many grains have an high acid content. Excessive consumption of cereals can then lead to an increase in the acidity level of the stomach and give rise to undesirable symptoms like heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers.
2. Gastrointestinal Discomforts
Most varieties of breakfast cereal have high sugar and fat content. Excess of this can lead to some abdominal discomforts such as bloating, abdominal pain, and so on.
Thus, people with sensitive stomachs and conditions like celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may want to avoid wholegrain cereals.
3. May Lead to Obesity
Excessive consumption of processed cereal with high sugar and fat content will lead to an increase in the calorie content of the body, causing weight gain. If this is not watched, obesity can set in.
Eating Cereal Before Bed: Our Final Thoughts
Eating cereal before bed is not necessarily a bad thing. However, care should be taken as to the type one eats.
Most commercial varieties of processed cereals contain an high amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Eating this type of cereal before bed will do more harm than good. However, eating whole grain cereals with high fiber content may be helpful.
When selecting your cereal, go for healthy options that contain high fiber, whole grains, and are mostly unprocessed.