A British study has found that eating dinner after 7pm results in a higher risk of heart attacks during the night, The Telegraph reported.
Eating late affects blood pressure
To find out how one’s diet and eating times can affect health, researchers studied over 700 adults with high blood pressure (hypertension). They found that a late dinner had the biggest impact on one’s blood pressure overnight.
In fact, consuming dinner “within two hours of bed time did more damage than the long-established risk of having a high salt diet”, the study found.
The risk of “non-dipper hypertension”, which refers to a situation “when blood pressure fails to drop properly over night”, nearly doubled for those who ate late dinners.
How does it happen?
In a healthy body, blood pressure should drop by “at least 10 per cent at night”. Should the blood pressure remain raised, there will be a greater risk of heart attacks.
In addition, eating late encourages the body to produce stress hormones, leaving the body on “high alert”. It may also “disrupt the circadian rhythms”.
Late dinners aren’t the only risk factor, with the study finding that people who skipped breakfast were also at risk of “non-dipper hypertension”.
Nonetheless, late night dinners still remained the most significant risk factor. Another study found that eating late at night was detrimental even for those who did not skip their breakfasts.
That said, given that these were small-scale studies, researchers urged for larger population-based studies to confirm these study results.
Bottom line: establish regular eating habits
But one thing is for sure- having regular eating times are important for health.
At the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Rome, Dr Ebru Özpelit, associate professor of cardiology of Dokuz Eylül University, said that “With the advent of affordable artificial lighting and industrialization, modern humans began to experience prolonged hours of illumination every day and resultant extended consumption of food”.
As such, eating dinner late and missing breakfast has become a habit for many people in the modern era- a habit that can be detrimental to heart health.
Read more at The Telegraph.