UAE: Crave a midnight snack? Dubai resident creates healthy option

This year at Gulfood, one of the products nominated for awards was a sleep-friendly night snack, indicating that it is a widespread phenomenon


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Tue 27 Feb 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 27 Feb 2024, 9:57 PM

For Dubai resident Fabeeha Mohammed, her daily diet is healthy and balanced but nights are the hardest. “As soon as my children are in bed and I relax in front of the TV, I need something to snack on,” she said. “It is like my entire day’s work of eating healthy goes down the drain in those one or two hours of snacking.”

There are thousands of people like Fabeeha who struggle with snacking at night. Many of them then struggle to fall asleep at night due to overeating. This year at Gulfood, one of the products nominated for awards was a sleep-friendly night snack, indicating that it is a widespread phenomenon.

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The MeBle premium healthy trail mix for adults were nominated in two categories- best health and wellness product as well as best snack. Consisting of nuts, goji berries, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds, the makers of the snack claim it is healthy and will not affect sleep.

“Our initial studies suggest that the ingredients of this snack will promote sleep,” said Saksri Sresangnum, assistant CCO of the Thailand-based Chin Huay company. “Our R&D department did a lot of research and found that in several adults – especially among senior citizens – a shared bag of snacks at night was a way to bond. We wanted to make a healthy alternative for them so that they can continue with their tradition without compromising on their health.”

Common problem

According to clinical dietitian Dr Dana Hamwi, night snacking is a common problem and there are many reasons for it. “Night eating syndrome which is a type of eating disorder that is characterised by hyperphagia in the evening and it’s common among overweight and obese people,” she said. “It can be caused by hormonal imbalances, unhealthy eating habits likes skipping breakfast, having caffeine on an empty stomach, stress, deficiencies or lack of sleep.”

She said midnight snacking may be linked to being overweight and obesity. “Obesity is nowadays considered a chronic disease and might lead to hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases,” she said. “Also it might lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, indigestion, bloating, acidity and acid reflux and disturbed sleeping patterns.”

She said it was important for people to change eating habits and stick to a healthy lifestyle. “It is important to stop drinking juices during the day and avoid adding sugar to your drinks, which we see very commonly in the UAE,” she said. “Regular exercise, ensuring adequate vitamins and minerals as well as reducing stress is important. I also recommend to start the day with a tablespoon of olive oil on an empty stomach to maintain hormonal balance as olive oil has Vitamin E, antioxidants, and Omega 9.”


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