When it comes to eating in the evening, dieters are often concerned that meals past 8 p.m. could add to their waistlines, but new evidence suggests more alarming consequences: heart disease and diabetes.
Researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico found that eating late goes against our biological clocks, and looked into how our out-of-sync lifestyles impacts overall health. As they note in the paper, published today in Experimental Physiology, previous research has already shown that disturbing the circadian rhythms could cause metabolic irregularities. Circadian rhythms are the processes our bodies go through in 24 hours, like digestion, and are regulated in part by our biological clocks.
To study the effects of those midnight snacks, the team fed rats at the beginning of their rest period (in humans, this would be just when it gets dark, according to lead study author and neurobiologist Ruud Buijs) and also during their active phase. They found that rats had higher amounts of blood fat levels following a meal during their rest time. After removing a part of the animal’s brain that regulates the 24-hour cycle, the variance in fat was gone. As high fat levels found in the blood are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, the team concluded that eating late increases one’s risk of these chronic conditions.
“Probably the most serious crime against our own clock is to eat late at night,” Buijs told Newsweek.
He explained why eating lunch doesn’t cause the same spike in fat levels, and the reason is…