Late Night Eating May Compromise Women’s Heart Health


Women’s health is a growing area of knowledge, now we hear that some more new research indicates that eating more calories in the evening is associated with declining cardiovascular health in women.

Evidence is mounting up to show that mealtimes can impact cardiometabolic health in a big way, so it could be time to change your eating habits!

This study that was performed recently, showed that eating meals earlier in the day can help people lose weight, as many of us are familiar with this diet followed in the Mediterranean while eating later in the day can cause a weight gain and slow down your metabolism.

The studies indicated that these later mealtimes raise inflammatory markers that are associated with diabetes and heart disease too. However, other studies, in mice and human subjects, gave results that show that setting strict mealtimes can help control blood sugar levels.

Now, this new research adds to this ever-increasing evidence and it suggests that eating more calories during the evening can negatively affect women’s cardiovascular health, so we need to think carefully about what we eat as well as when we eat it!

The new research though is still in the preliminary stages and will be hence be presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) Scientific Sessions 2019, taking place in Philadelphia, PA.

Nour Makarem, Ph.D., an associate working as a research scientist at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, in New York, happens to be the lead author of the study.

Studying General Eating Patterns & Heart Health

Makarem and colleagues recruited around 112 healthy women, aged 33 years old, on average, to become part of, and participate in the study.

The researchers looked at the participants’ cardiovascular health as a baseline and then 1 year later using Life’s Simple 7. This method uses a measure of cardiovascular health that is made up of seven modifiable risk factors, as by the AHA guidelines.

Life’s Simple 7 accounts for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, physical activity, diet, weight, and smoking statuses too, it’s based on these factors, and the researchers calculated a cardiovascular health score for each individual participant.

The women kept detailed food diaries on their cell phones, used to track and show how much, what, and when they ate for an initial 1-week baseline, then another week at 12 months later.

The researchers then used that data, from the electronic food diaries, to calculate the relationship between cardiovascular health, and the timing of the meals, to be as accurate as possible, of course!

Fewer Late Calories Can Boost Heart Health

The research showed that those participants that had been consuming more calories after 6 p.m. were tending to have much worse cardiovascular health.

So, for each 1% increase in caloric intake after 6 p.m., the cardiovascular health score declined, also blood pressure and body mass index had a tendency to increase. On top of this their blood sugar control tended to be more erratic.

It was also said that the analysis gave similar results for every 1% increase in calories after 8 p.m.too …

Hispanic women seemed to stand out, as they made up 44% of the participants, and had higher blood pressure when they consumed more calories in the evening hours.

The study’s lead author, Nour Makarem, Ph.D. said:

“So far, lifestyle approaches to prevent heart disease have focused on what we eat and how much we eat.”

“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.” 

The lead researcher also tells us that these findings could be proved to be even more reliable if they could be replicated in a larger sample and with different populations.

Dr. Kristin Newby, a professor of medicine and cardiology at Duke University, in Durham, NC, said:

“I think it’s an important study …It’s foundational more than definitive at this point, but I think it provides some really interesting insights into an aspect of nutrition and how it relates to cardiovascular risk factors that we really haven’t thought about before.”

Well, we don’t know about you, be we will certainly be taking notice and changing our eating habits, better safe than sorry we say!