Research: Late dinners may increase weight gain

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People who eat a later dinner may be predeposed to weight gain

Late night meal / snack.

Billions worldwide and millions of adult American adults are overweight or obese. Obesity will lead to health complications like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Nearly all of these subjects are look fopr a way to lose weight or avoid more weight gain. It could as simple as adjusting your mealtime. Some studies suggest that consuming calories later in the day is associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome.

I have long heard that eating earlier is better but there is limited research to back their belief. A new study looked at this very question. The scientists looked at consuming calories later in the day to see if this change was associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. They hypothesized that eating a late dinner alters substrate metabolism during sleep in a manner that promotes obesity.

The researchers studied 20 healthy adults (10 men and 10 women) to see how they metabolized dinner eaten at 10 p.m. compared to 6 p.m. The goal was to examine the impact of late dinner on nocturnal metabolism in healthy volunteers. All subjects went to bed at 11 p.m. The meals were isocaloric in the two groups.

The researchers found that blood sugar levels were higher in the late dinner group. The late dinner grained more body weight and had a higher increase in BMI after the intervention. These changes are consistent with an increase in metabolic syndrome and could explain the reason for a higher obesity rate in people who eat a later dinner. The effects are most pronounced in those that fell asleep earlier.

The bottom line: Earlier dinnertime may be associated with less weight gain. Late dinner may induce nocturnal glucose intolerance, and reduce fatty acid oxidation, and mobilization. This effect is particularly found in earlier sleepers. These effects might promote obesity if they recur chronically. More research is needed.

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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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