Why late-night eating may hurt your heart, according to research

Late-night eating may affect your heart health, a new research proposes. The research was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions annual meeting. They found that eating more later in the evening was linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

In the U.S., people now have a “delayed lifestyle”. It means they go to sleep later at night and get less sleep, said chief research author Nour Makarem. She was a postdoctoral fellow in cardiology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. And with that deferred lifestyle, you also see greater rates of night-time eating, she said.

Makarem and her colleagues believed that this meal timing may cause high blood pressure. Also, the rise in rates of obesity and diabetes seen in recent years. In the research, the scientists used a database named as the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos to check the information of more than 12,700 Hispanic and Latino adults having ages from 18 to 76.

However the study observed just one particular population in the U.S., the Hispanic and Latino population, “we do imagine to see parallel links in other populations in the U.S.,” Makarem told. Actually, many researchers conducted abroad have shown that meal timing may be related to developing risk factors for heart disease, she added.

In the research, the team observed the data from two distinct days in which participants stated their eating routines. This information was then compared with measurements such as blood sugar and blood pressure.

They detected that over half of the individuals in the research consumed 30 percent or more of their daily calories after 6 p.m. Those members had greater levels of fasting blood sugar, greater insulin levels, higher HOMA-IR levels and greater blood pressure than those participants who started eating less than 30 percent of their normal calories after 6 p.m.

A high level of fasting blood sugar can be deliberated a signal of prediabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Prediabetes. It means that the levels of a person’s blood sugar are unusually high, but not high to be considered diabetes.

Certainly, the scientists found that those people who consumed 30 percent or more of their everyday calories after 6 p.m. were 19 percent more probable to develop pre-diabetes than those who ate earlier in the day. Seventy percent of persons with prediabetes can develop type 2 diabetes, which is a risk for heart disease, Makarem noted.

Those similar members were also 23 percent more expected to develop hypertension, than those who ate earlier the day. These relations were particularly common in women, Makarem added.

The late-night link

The research only found a link between the timing of meal and a person’s risk of certain medical complications; it didn’t verify a cause-and-effect relation. Still, Makarem said that one possible description for the connection is that difficulties can arise when clocks of our body aren’t synced to our environment.

Nearly every cell in the body can state time, following approximately 24-hour cycle. A small portion of the brain named the suprachiasmatic nucleus functions as the master clock of the body. It works by receiving exterior light cues (preferably from the sun). Then it sets the rest of the regulators in the body’s cells accordingly. Thus telling persons when to wake up, sleep and eat, Makarem said.

“These clocks are controlled not only by exposure to bright light but also by behaviors, mainly food signals,” Makarem said. So, when we consume at eccentric times — for instance, by consuming more calories in the evening — the body’s clocks can become skewed with the master clock. It leads to problems in metabolism and increases the risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, she said.

“The data is fairly reliable that eating more, later in the day, appears to be metabolically worse,” said Kristen Knutson, who is an associate professor of neurology and preventative medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

She was not involved in the study but attended Makarem’s talk. These difficulties arise because “you’re not eating at the time which is optimum for your circadian system,” she told.



Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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