Eating After 6pm Bad For Heart? Diabetes & Obesity Risk?

Eating After 6pm Bad For Heart? Diabetes & Obesity Risk?


We’re discovering that when it comes to
staying healthy, it’s not just what we eat that matters, but when we eat and we think
this is all down to our circadian rhythms. These 24-hour cycles determine everything
from when we feel sleepy to when our immune cells are most active. They also help our tissue and organs and tissues
to switch tasks and recuperate during the times they’re least likely to be active. For example we produce less saliva at night;
our stomach produces fewer digestive juices; the intestinal contractions that move food
through our guts slow down; and we are less sensitive to the hormone insulin, which carries
glucose from our bloodstream and into our cells. And this because for most of human history,
eating was done during the day and night-time was for sleep. So our bodies are set up to process food more
efficiently during the day. However, the invention of electric light has
made it easier to stay up late and keep eating after sunset, and this may have significant
detrimental effects on our health. For example, research presented at an American
Heart Association conference showed that the more a woman ate after 6pm, the worse her
heart health was, with a greater risk of higher blood pressure and body mass index, and poorer
long-term control of blood sugar. Other studies have found that people who eat
late have a greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Whilst I don’t agree with animal testing
in this study researchers gave two groups of mice the same high-fat high sugar diet
but one group had 24/7 access to the food and the other could eat only during an eight-hour
window in their ‘daytime’. Even though they consumed the same number
of calories, the mice whose eating window was restricted appeared to be completely protected
from the diseases that began to afflict the other group: obesity, diabetes, heart disease
and liver damage. What’s even more fascinating, when mice
with these illnesses were placed on a time-restricted eating schedule, they became well again. Human trials of time-restricted eating are
just beginning, but some of the early results look promising For instance, when eight men
with prediabetes were randomized to eat all their meals between 8am and 3pm, their sensitivity
to insulin improved and their blood pressure dropped by 10-11 points on average, compared
to when they consumed the same meals within a 12-hour period. Studies have also found that those who eat
dinner an hour before bedtime have poorer blood sugar control than those who eat earlier. In this study overweight and obese women were
put on a weight-loss diet for three months and researchers found that those who consumed
most of their calories at breakfast lost two and a half times more weight than those who
had a light breakfast and ate most of their calories at dinner – even though they consumed
the same number of calories overall. We don’t know exactly why extended, eating
may be bad for us. But researcher hypothesize that the reason
time-restricted eating might be better for our health is because it provides our guts
with more opportunity to repair and recuperate and increased the opportunity for our bodies
to burn fat – because fat-burning only occurs when our organs realize that no more food
is coming their way. Up to one-tenth of the cells lining the gut
are damaged every day by digestion, and eating a late-night meal followed by an early breakfast
leaves very little time for any repairs to be made. The barrier between the inside of the gut
and the rest of the body can become ‘leaky’, allowing allergy-causing chemicals and bacteria
through, increasing general levels of inflammation in the body and triggering ill health. It may also be important to keep our meal
times regular. This is because eating at unexpected times
can shift the timing of the ‘clocks’ in our digestive tissues, causing them to become
de-synchronised from clocks elsewhere in our bodies, and making our metabolisms less efficient. For example this study suggests that having
breakfast later at weekends than you do during the week will lead to weight gain as it disrupts
the body’s metabolic rhythms.

13 thoughts on “Eating After 6pm Bad For Heart? Diabetes & Obesity Risk?

  1. Interesting, but I find it hard to believe eating nothing but high fiber whole foods after 6 is going to screw you up that badly, if at all. Needs more research.

  2. The whole food diet is tough enough for many people. Can we stop with the restrictions and fear mongering. There is all kinds of evidence that says eating before bed for the vast majority of people is not only harmless but beneficial. Check out Pam Poppers YT channel. She talks about this. Also Essylstein is always talking about eating multiple meals to flood the body with a continuous supply of nutrients. And the evidence you supply is studies in mice? Come on, people. Sometimes we have to use our noggin and stop listening to these quacks. There is such a thing as the law of diminishing returns. Do you really think obsessing about this will add one day to your lifespan. If we want Veganism to grow we have to stop with the ridiculous stumbling blocks. Jeepers Murphy.

  3. Thank you.
    Looks like I need to go back to doing this.
    I shared this to at least 6 of my friends.
    Again, thank you for compiling and presenting this information.

  4. Really interesting. I remember Michael Jackson saying in the 80s that he wouldn’t eat in the evening. I always thought it was an old wives tale!

  5. In the past it was a good thing to keep weight on. So any study that says it's better for us to do things that make us lose weight easier, is very suspect to me. I suppose in the past it was much better to eat a small breakfast and more for dinner, and I would expect it brings with it other benefits as well. So losing weight might be better done in a different way?

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