What are your late-night cravings? Chips. Your kids Girl Scout cookies? Anything within reach in the pantry? If you’re hungrily staring into the fridge at 1 a.m., it may be a sign that you need to eat cleaner. University of Virginia researchers found that a diet filled with fat and sugar activates the “reward center” in your brain, where dopamine is released. The chemical affects neurons that moderate the body’s clock, telling you when to eat, according to the study findings.
Consuming more energy-dense foods elevates dopamine activity and messes with the biological clock, signaling to the body it’s always time to eat. Break the cycle to curb late-night cravings. Opt for low-sugar, complex carbs, and if you do need a midnight snack, try a piece of fruit.