In today's fast-paced lifestyle where one has to work for long hours, eating meals on time is usually not on most people's priority list. While skipping meals has already been linked to an increase in risk of number of lifestyle diseases, a recent study has shed light on the possible threats of consumption of meals post 6 pm, especially for women. According to a new study that is scheduled to be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2019 from November 16-18 in Philadelphia, US, women who consume a higher proportion of their daily calories late in the evening are more likely to be at risk of cardiovascular disease than women who have their meals at 6 pm.
For the study, the researchers used the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 measures to assess the cardiovascular health of 112 women. The Life's Simple 7 measures were assessed at the beginning of the study and for one year later. Based on meeting the Life's Simple 7, a heart health score was computed.
It represents the risk factors that people can improve through lifestyle changes to help achieve ideal cardiovascular health.
"The preliminary results indicate that intentional eating that is mindful of the timing and proportion of calories in evening meals may represent a simple, modifiable behaviour that can help lower heart disease risk," said study lead author Nour Makarem from Columbia University in the US.
In electronic food diaries, the participants of the study reported how much and when they ate for one week at the beginning of the study and for one week 12 months later. The researchers then used the food dairy completed by each woman to determine the relationship between heart health and the timing they ate food.
As per the findings of the study, after 6 pm with every one per cent calories consumed, the heart health declined. These particular women were found more likely to have higher body mass index, higher blood pressure and poorer long-term control of blood sugar. Other than this, similar findings occurred with every one percent increase in calories consumed after 8 pm.
"It is never too early to start thinking about your heart health, whether you're 20 or 30 or 40 or moving into the 60s and 70s. If you're healthy now or if you have heart disease, you can always do more. That goes along with being heart smart and heart healthy," said study researcher Kristin Newby, Professor at Duke University.