When weight loss advice is doled out, it usually includes just two things: eating well (and cutting calories when necessary) and exercise.
But there’s a third component necessary for both weight loss and better health — sleep. It seems obvious, but sleep is so important for your energy levels and to help stabilize hormones, including those hormones that send signals to your brain about your appetite.
A bedtime snack is always a good idea, but this is the worst food you can have before bed over 30 if you’re trying to lose weight, according to nutritionists.
One of our favorite foods also happens to be one of the worst foods you can eat right before bed: pizza.
Surprisingly, the ingredient in pizza that makes it a downer before sleep isn’t its carb-heavy dough or cheese.
Pizza sauce may be the least caloric of its ingredients, but it’s also the most acidic — and that’s why pizza could disrupt your sleep patterns and make for an unrestful night. Pizza can cause acid reflux.
“Common symptoms are a burning sensation in the back of your throat or in your chest,” Joseph Murray, M.D., a gastroenterologist with Mayo Clinic, told Men’s Health. “With reflux, the normal seal that keeps the contents of your stomach from bubbling up into your esophagus and throat doesn’t do its job properly. And, as you might expect, lying down makes the problem worse, he says.”
The other major issue with pizza is that it’s difficult to digest. Thanks to a combination of carbs in its dough, saturated fat and protein in its cheese, and, of course, acidic tomato sauce, which usually also contains sugar, pizza can take time to get through your system — and if you’re planning on hitting the sheets soon, your stomach could be growling for a while as you try to process all of those nutrients.
“The goal is to feel relaxed prior to bed, and you may struggle to get to sleep if your body is trying to digest a very complex meal,” Angel Planells, RD, told The Healthy.
So, what should you eat instead so thaat you aren’t battling the munchies before bed, but feel relaxed enough to sleep? Experts suggest sticking with lighter foods that contain some protein like an apple with nut butter, a cheese stick, yogurt with a sprinkling of granola, or pistachios (which actually contain sleep-inducing melatonin).