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We're all guilty of the odd midnight fridge raid, but we might be better off going back to bed and staving off the hunger pangs until the morning.

Eating late at night can cause weight gain, and raise insulin and cholesterol levels more compared to eating earlier on in the day, according to new research.

Late night eating can also negatively affect hormonal markers implicated in heart disease and diabetes, as well as fat metabolism.

The unfortunate findings come from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who followed nine adults as they changed their eating habits.

They ate between 8am and 7pm for eight weeks, then swapped to eating between 12pm and 11pm. Their sleeping patterns stayed the same throughout.

The researchers also found that eating earlier may help prevent overeating later on in the evening.

Eating earlier in the day can help prevent “detrimental chronic health effects,” the researchers concluded.

Brunch, anyone?

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