When the conversation with your health care provider turns to making healthier eating choices, the main focus typically is on what you eat and how much of it you ingest. Now, add to the discussion the question of when you eat dinner. A new study suggests that eating a big meal after 6 p.m. can increase your risk of high blood pressure and prediabetes.
The study of more than 12,000 people, led by Columbia University researchers, found late diners who consumed at least 30 percent of their daily food intake in the evening had higher levels of fasting glucose and insulin levels as well as higher blood pressure.
Interestingly, the study did not link eating a big meal in the evening with an increase in obesity or belly fat.
The researchers evaluated participants in the Hispanic Community Health/Study of Latinos who ranged in age from 18 to 76. None of the participants reported having cancer or diabetes.
The participants related that, on average, they ate more than 35 percent of their daily food amount after 6 p.m. More than half reported eating at least 30 percent of their food intake in the evening. The results were adjusted for variables including lifestyle and medical factors.
While acknowledging the findings were limited because they focused on a study of Latinos, the team said the results likely can be generalized to all populations.
Physicians have long known that what you eat and how much you eat are critically important points in the treatment and management of diabetes and other cardiovascular risks. The new information suggests you should pass on that big dinner when you get home at night and settle for lighter fare.