The Underrated Benefits of An Early Dinner

Want to make the most of your healthy meals? Take into account when you are eating them. From reduced weight gain to a healthier heart, here is why you should consider eating an early dinner.

Dinner is to a day what dessert is to dinner,” wrote American author and essayist Michael Dorris. A good dinner, followed by restful sleep, is often the best closing to a hectic or stressful day. But we have all been there—constantly delaying dinner because we are busy with other work, or too tired to get up from the couch, distracted by our favourite TV show, or simply waiting for delivery food to arrive. We are also often guilty of eating a heavy lunch that reduces our appetite until late at night. In our quest for a healthy life, we might be eating healthy foods and counting our calories, but recent research shows that the timing of our dinner is equally important in determining overall health.

Your body’s circadian rhythm, or the natural internal process that controls the sleep-wake cycle, is intrinsically connected to when you eat your meals, according to a study published in Current Biology in 2017, and this impacts the physiological process of your body. In simple terms, this means that for healthy living, when you eat your meals matters as much as what you eat in them.

Benefits of Eating an Early Dinner

1. It boosts your metabolism
Published in Nutrients in 2021, a study conducted by scientists Nakamura et al shows that an early dinner improves 24-hour blood glucose levels, and even boosts lipid metabolism the next day after your breakfast. This is because eating earlier in the evening will increase the duration between dinner and breakfast the next day, causing your body to get its energy needs from stored fat rather than glucose available from food you just ate, the same principle that intermittent fasting is based on.

2. It improves heart health
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine provided experimental evidence in June, 2017 about late dinners causing an increase in “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels and triglycerides, which can impact your heart health significantly. Also, a late dinner was linked to reduced metabolisation of lipids, and higher production of cortisol, both of which can contribute to the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases.

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