The content of each meal is constantly under scrutiny to find the best formula for weight loss, muscle gain or simply to be healthier. Little or no attention if ever paid to the timings of those meals. But a 2018 Spanish research is set to change the game after finding that eating dinner early can reduce the risk of prostate or breast cancer in up to 20%.
What are the benefits of eating dinner early
Reducing the risk of cancer is certainly a big advantage and motivation for eating dinner early, but it’s not the only benefit you can collect. The circadian rhythms have a bigger impact on an individual’s health than what it may look like at first, and not even the artificial daylight environments can fool lit.
The impact of the circadian rhythms on the metabolism had already been widely studied, but its effect on humans is still in the process of discovery.
In an oral presentation the Obesity Society Annual Meeting at Obesity Week 2016, Courtney Peterson, PhD, presented for the first time the preliminary results of a human study linking the time-restricted feeding with weight loss.
According to Dr. Peterson, eating dinner early or skip it altogether to follow the circadian cycles resulted in fewer hunger pangs, increased fat burning and it supported the body’s ability to switch between carbs and fats and fuel.
More recently, a 2018 pilot study confirmed that eating dinner early affects the appetite and the metabolism. In it, the time-restricted feeding was not limited in their food intake but, when compared to the control group, it consumed much less food and calories.
The subjects also experienced weight loss, although researchers cannot be certain if due to the reduced calorie intake or because an earlier meal means that the body has more time to burn food.
Eating dinner late at night increases the chances that your body will still be going through digestion when you go to bed.
This can impact on your sleep quality, giving you weird dreams, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, conditioning your cognitive performance, sabotaging your weight loss goals, among many other negative effects for the body.
Don’t worry about being hungry when you finally go to bed if you dine too early. There are some bedtime snacks that will fix your cravings without ruining your sleep.
As mentioned before, eating dinner early affects appetite and reduces the chances of bedtime cravings. This can support weight loss, but it also has many benefits regarding health overall.
Not following the circadian rhythms prompts the triglyceride levels to rise, which in turn increases the risk of atherosclerosis, heart diseases, obesity and metabolic syndrome.
What is the best time to eat dinner?
According to all the aforementioned studies, the best time to eat dinner is always before 7 p.m. as this is the average time when night begins to fall or unfold.
If you can’t eat prior to that time, then the researchers suggest trying to eat at least 2h before going to bed, to reduce the risk of digestion affecting your sleep quality.
Why dinner matters
Dinner matters mostly because you need to eat. Your body needs nutrients and calories to stay healthy and work properly and after a long day, you need to pamper it a bit.
That is not to say that you should eat a lot though. You need to adapt your food intake to the energy you will be spending, which is very little since you’re going to sleep, or you might disrupt it.
Likewise, eating dinner will leave your body feeling nourished while resting, and reduce any cravings or hunger that could condition your sleep quality.
Lastly, dinner is important because it’s most likely the only meal you can do with your family, so you should enjoy that moment to spend time with the people you enjoy the most. It can even help you reduce your stress levels, granting you a better sleep and more efficient weight loss results.
The circadian rhythms
If you were curious with all this talking about the circadian rhythms and you want to know more about them, check out the video below to find what they are and why they affect the human body.