Eating dinner late increases the risk of adding weight according to Scientists from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
AccordIng to the findings, eating just before going to bed also increases the danger of diabetes. This is because it raises blood sugar levels.
The scientists compared the effects among the same group of people who eat dinner at 6pm and 10pm.
Over 2.1 billion adults all over the world are estimated to be overweight or obesed. This make potentially fatal health complications such as diabetes and high blood pressure more likely.
Meanwhile, previous studies have shown that consuming calories later in the day is associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome.
However, the corresponding author of the new study, Doctor Jonathan Jun of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US, said:
“This study sheds new light on how eating a late dinner worsens glucose tolerance and reduces the amount of fat burned.
“The effect of late eating varies greatly between people and depends on their usual bedtime.
“This shows that some people might be more vulnerable to late eating than others
“If the metabolic effects we observed with a single meal keep occurring chronically, then late eating could lead to consequences such as diabetes or obesity.”
The researchers studied 20 healthy volunteers – 10 men and 10 women – to see how they digested dinner eaten at 10pm compared to 6pm. The volunteers all went to bed at 11pm.
Study first author Dr Chenjuan Gu, also of Johns Hopkins University, said: “On average, the peak glucose level after late dinner was about 18 per cent higher, and the amount of fat burned overnight decreased by about 10 per cent compared to eating an earlier dinner.
“The effects we have seen in healthy volunteers might be more pronounced in people with obesity or diabetes, who already have a compromised metabolism.”
However, the study is not the first to show the effects of late eating, but the research team said it is one of the most detailed.
They said the volunteers wore activity trackers, had blood sampling every hour while staying in a lab, underwent sleep studies and body fat scans, and ate food that contained non-radioactive labels so that the rate of fat burning could be determined.
Dr Jun furthwr said:
“We still need to do more experiments to see if these effects continue over time, and if they are caused more by behaviour – such as sleeping soon after a meal – or by the body’s circadian rhythms.”