Night-Eating Syndrome

Today’s post is another excerpt from “Best Weight: A Practical Guide to Office-Based Weight Management“, recently published by the Canadian Obesity Network.

This guide is meant for health professionals dealing with obese clients and is NOT a self-management tool or weight-loss program. However, I assume that even general readers may find some of this material of interest.

Night-Eating Syndrome

Night eating is increasingly recognized as a syndrome with distinct psychopathology. The sleep disturbance and increased food intake later in the day associated with night eating may contribute to weight gain and poorer weight-loss outcomes. Night eating syndrome (NES) is not the equivalent of night snacking.

Diagnostic criteria include:

Skipping breakfast ≥ 4 days/week, interpreted as morning anorexia

• Consuming more than 50% of total daily calories after 7 p.m.

• Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep ≥ 4 days/week

NES patients report more nocturnal awakenings and consume food during approximately 75% of awakenings vs. 0% for people without NES. Night eaters report more depression, lower self-esteem, less hunger and also more fullness before a daytime test meal. While the total energy intake of people with NES may not be different from that of overweight or obese individuals without the syndrome, they consume more than three times as many calories after the evening meal.

© Copyright 2010 by Dr. Arya M. Sharma and Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. All rights reserved.

The opinions in this book are those of the authors and do not represent those of the Canadian Obesity Network.

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