It’s time to put a fork in your nighttime eating habits.
A study from the University of Sorbonne in Paris, France found that people who eat dinner after 9 pm may have a higher risk of having a stroke or mini stroke.
The study of 100,000 people, published in the journal Nature Communications, took place over seven years. Each of the participants tracked their meal times on weekdays and weekends and the researchers tracked their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Over seven years, a third of the participants ate their dinner before 8 p.m. and another third after 9 p.m. In that time frame, 2,000 people suffered complications of cardiovascular disease, including a heart attack. heart and stroke.
Those who ate after 9pm were 28% more likely to have a stroke. In fact, for every hour after 8 pm that someone ate their dinner, their chances of having a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), in which the blood supply to the brain is only briefly interrupted, were increased by 8%.
A TIA is an episode of several minutes in which people have similar symptoms to a stroke, but it does not cause permanent damage. About 1 in 3 people who suffer a TIA will have a full-blown stroke, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Eating later creates risks because digesting food later increases both blood sugar and blood pressure, the researchers explained.
Higher blood pressure at night can damage blood vessels over time and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
That said, people who ate dinner after 9 pm did not see the same coronary heart risk as having a stroke.
The researchers found that women were more affected by late meal times than men, noting that women also made up 80% of the study cohort.
Like many people, my grandmother warned me not to eat dinner late, and this study suggests that there may be some sense in that advice, said Bernard Dour, the study’s senior author.
Today we are a 24/7 society, where people feel like they don’t have enough time, many of us often eat at night, Dour added. But people who eat dinner late because they think they are too busy to do it earlier may increase their risk of health problems, although this is more visible in women, and we need more research to confirm these findings.
On the other hand, men’s health seems to be more closely tied to mornings. For every hour later that a man ate breakfast, his risk of coronary heart disease increased by 11%, while the rate for all genders was 6%.
The study also found that fasting overnight has health benefits, especially for those who eat dinner early. For every extra hour a person fasted at night, their risk of having a stroke or TIA dropped by 7%.
So is there a perfect time to eat? Some seem to think so.
eating [your last meal] between 5 to 7 pm would be ideal, said Dr. Dana Cohen, integrative medicine specialist and co-author of “Quench,” in Prevention. However, eventually it gets less food that you should consume.
A study published last year in Cell Metabolism found that people who ate meals at 5 pm burned more calories than people who ate dinner later.
However, it appears that the length of time people leave between their dinner and sleep is an important factor. What people eat is also more important than when people eat, according to the expert.
Kayla Kopp, a registered dietician at the Cleveland Clinics Center for Human Nutrition, told Fortune that people prone to acid reflux or heartburn or suffering from type 2 diabetes may want to have an earlier dinner. As a rule of thumb, people should eat four hours before they go to bed and they should not go more than three or four hours during the day without eating.
The clock doesn’t dictate how our bodies use or store food, Kopp says.
He says that food affects the body’s circadian rhythm and sleep and that optimal sleep is essential for health.
Your circadian rhythm plays a big role when it comes to hunger cues, Kopp explains. “Because of this, it’s best to try to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on a consistent, regular basis every day without skipping meals.
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