Late Dinner Causes High Blood Sugar

Many things can contribute to blood sugar levels fluctuating. From diet, to activity, to stress — a lot of things can upset your goals. Everyone has their own triggers, and it’s essential to know your own and speak to your doctor about your healthy routine. While we know that meal timing can be a contributing factor, new research has underscored that eating an early dinner maybe your healthiest option.

Meal timing has been studied more and more recently, with the rise of intermittent fasting. A new study has found that people who eat dinner later can have peak blood sugar that is nearly 20 percent higher than folks who eat earlier. That was true, regardless of the number of calories they are eating. The people in the study were all healthy, and the researchers believe the results may be even more dramatic for people with blood sugar or weight concerns. Moreover, the people in the study burned 10 percent less fat when they ate a late dinner.  

This study sheds new light on how eating a late dinner worsens glucose tolerance and reduces the amount of fat burned,” said Dr. Jonathan Jun, of Johns Hopkins Univ., who led the research. “The effect of late eating varies greatly between people and depends on their usual bedtime.”

The study was small — 10 men and 10 women. Half of the people ate at 6 p.m., half ate at 10 p.m. and everyone went to bed at 11. They ate the same meals. The study needs to be repeated on a much larger scale and with people with more health concerns. This research does not show the impact on people who are overweight, have metabolic problems or have blood sugar concerns.

There seemed to be a more significant impact on people who reported that they usually went to bed close to when they ate. If you go to bed earlier, you should eat earlier in the evening and give yourself a wider window between eating and going to sleep. The researchers want to perform a longer study to see how the eating patterns impact people over long periods of time and if it eventually changes sleep patterns.

All of this supports the studies that show mealtime is important for health. In the past, we’ve written about how late meals could negatively impact heart health. Additionally, research had shown that eating early in the day could help you lose weight, but many thought that it was because it curbed people’s appetite later.

When speaking of eating early in the day, Dr. Courtney Peterson of the Univ. of Alabama Birmingham said, “We suspect that a majority of people may find meal timing strategies helpful for losing weight or to maintain their weight since these strategies naturally appear to curb appetite, which may help people eat less.”

This new study suggests it might be something deeper and more biologically rooted. It’s more than that we feel satiated and eat less later in the evening. Our bodies process the food differently as we slow down for the night. As we learn more about it, try to eat an earlier dinner, further away from bedtime. We’ll keep you updated when more research is released!
September 21, 2020
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