Eating your dinner after certain time could have serious health risks – even fatal

Scientists have found eating before 8pm might be better for you after a seven year study looked at the health of over 100,000 people and what time they ate dinner

Eating your evening meal late might have serious long term health impacts, the new study has shown(Getty Images)

Eating your dinner late may increase the risk of suffering a stroke or mini-stroke by as much as 28 per cent, new research has revealed.

Scientists in France have unearthed evidence that eating before 8pm might be better for you after a seven year study looked at the health of over 100,000 people in relation to what time they ate dinner. Researchers looked at food diaries kept by participants in the massive study between 2009 and 2022 which tracked their mealtimes on weekdays and on weekends.

The researchers found that about a third of people in the study ate their evening meal before 8pm, while one third of the group ate after 9pm, according to a report from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research published Thursday (December 14). Over the course of the study there were around 2,000 cases of cardiovascular disease among participants.

The longer your overnight fast, the better, the new research shows – bad news for those prone to the midnight munchies(Getty Images)

When researchers looked at the dinner times of those who had suffered cardiovascular illness they noticed a frightening correlation. Those who ate dinner latest, after 9pm, were 28 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke or transient or a ‘mini-stroke’, called an ischaemic attack, compared the people who ate before 8pm.

Dr Bernard Srour, senior author of the study from the University of Sorbonne Paris Nord, said: “Like many people, my grandmother used to warn me not to have dinner too late, and this study suggests there may be some sense in that advice. Now we are a 24/7 society, where people feel they never have enough time, many of us often eat later at night. But people who eat dinner late because they think they are too busy may increase their risk of health problems, although this is seen more in women, and we need more research to confirm these findings,” he told the Mail.

Researchers said animal studies show increased blood sugar and blood pressure when meals are eaten later in the day – suggesting we have evolved to eat earlier in the day. Eating dinner later in the evening, when blood pressure is normally lower, could damage blood vessels over time and increase the risk of blood clots which lead to strokes and heart attacks.

However more research is needed before a definitive link can be drawn, and it is unlikely that when you eat will influence your health as much as eating a healthy diet. The people in the study who ate after 9pm did not have an increased risk of other kinds of vascular disease, like heart attacks, angina or blocked arteries compared to those who ate before 8pm, the risk was limited to cerebrovascular problems, that is strokes and ischaemic attacks.

For every hour later someone has dinner, their odds of a stroke or mini-stroke increase by eight per cent, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Communications. And it’s not just dinner times, as for every hour later someone had breakfast, their risk of all types of cardiovascular disease increased by six per cent.


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