Elizabeth Saenger, PhD
Do you crave specific high-fat, high-sugar foods, like brownies with chocolate sauce, when you do not need the calories?
If so, you are not alone. A recent study found that 10% of students at eight Lebanese universities have similar cravings – or what scientists call a food addiction. This figure may be even higher in countries crowded with fast food chains.
The desire for fattening goodies was associated with having poorer sleep quality. Specifically, 81% of students with a food addiction, compared with 57% of those without one, slept poorly.
Those with a food addiction were also more likely to smoke, and more likely to have:
- a higher body mass index, or BMI (a measure of body fat)
- higher perceived stress
- an owl (vs lark) chronotype.
These results are consistent with what we know about owls. For example, another study measured higher levels of stress hormones in owls than larks.
Further, several studies discovered that owls tend to consume more alcohol and fast food than larks – presumably something that their late hours make it easier to do. Larks, on the other hand, may be winding down for the night when some trendy bars are just opening.
For more information on chronotype, weight loss, and meal time, read:
- This is Why Fashionably Late Dining Is the Worst Dieting Mistake in the World
- The Impact of the Circadian System on Meals and Weight Loss: An Interview with Courtney M. Peterson, PhD
- Chronotypes: Owls, Larks, Hummingbirds, and More