Wellness Nutrition

Late night eating could mean poorer heart health for women, study finds

Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStockphoto

Philadelphia — Women, do you regularly eat dinner close to bedtime? If so, you may be at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, the American Heart Association warns.

Researchers sampled 112 women and assessed their cardiovascular health at the beginning of the study and one year later using AHA’s Life’s Simple 7 heart health measurements: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, physical activity, diet, body weight and smoking habits. The participants kept electronic food diaries – recording what, how much and when they ate – for one week at the beginning and end of the study period.

Women who consumed a higher proportion of their daily calories after 6 p.m. had poorer heart health, such as higher blood pressure and higher body mass index, a Nov. 11 press release from AHA states. Further, for every 1% increase in calorie consumption after this time – and similarly after 8 p.m. – the participants’ cardiovascular health declined.

Hispanic women, who made up 44% of the study group, experienced a more pronounced effect on blood pressure when consuming larger proportions of their daily calories after 6 p.m.

“These preliminary results indicate that intentional eating that is mindful of the timing and proportion of calories in evening meals may represent a simple, modifiable behavior that can help lower heart disease risk,” study author Nour Makarem, an associate research scientist at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, said in the release.

The study was presented at the AHA 2019 Scientific Sessions in November in Philadelphia.

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