Eating dinner at this time could be disastrous for your health

On top of a projected spike in COVID-19 cases and unemployment rates, researchers are anticipating a surge in obese Americans in the wake of both.

The factors involved seem to be halved between lockdown measures and unhealthy (albeit affordable) processed foods entering more and more homes.

If you’ve read any of Ladders’ deep dives into metabolism, you know that weight management makes nearly as much room for when we eat as what we eat.

In fact, a new paper published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism posits that routinely eating a late dinner can dramatically raise one’s risk for developing obesity in addition to several serious metabolic conditions.

“We hypothesized that eating a late dinner alters substrate metabolism during sleep in a manner that promotes obesity,” the Johns Hopkins University researchers explained in the study’s abstract. “The objective of this work is to examine the impact of late dinner on nocturnal metabolism in healthy volunteers.”

All of the volunteers featured in the new report were deemed healthy at the start of the analysis. Because of this, it can be assumed that all outcomes (both positive and negative) will be starker among overweight populations as well as communities with preexisting disorders.

In order to distinguish the way each metabolized dinners that were eaten at 10 p.m. compared to dinners eaten at 6 p.m, the pool was instructed to go to sleep every night of the study period at 11 p.m.

An isocaloric macronutrient diet, which denotes meals comprised of 35% daily kcals, 50% carbohydrates, and 35% fat was paired with an oral lipid tracer for the subjects.

The lipid tracer was administered so that the authors could measure nocturnal and morning hourly plasma glucose, insulin, triglycerides, free fatty acids cortisol, dietary fatty acid (FFA), overnight oxygen levels in the blood, heart rate breathing, and eye, and leg movements experienced during sleep.

After the data was adjusted for all relevant factors late dinners (LD) consistently produced biomarkers linked to obesity and chronic disease.

The reasoning was located during “the postprandial period—the four-hour window in which our bodies make sense out of glucose and other important carbohydrates after the ingestion of a meal.

“LD caused a 4-hour shift in the postprandial period, overlapping with the sleep phase. Independent of this shift, the postprandial period following LD was characterized by higher glucose, a triglyceride peak delay, and lower FFA and dietary fatty acid oxidation,” the authors continued. “LD did not affect sleep architecture, but increased plasma cortisol. These metabolic changes were most pronounced in habitual earlier sleepers determined by actigraphy monitoring.”

Participants who ate late dinners at 10 pm burned significantly fewer calories during their postprandial state compared to those who ate dinners at 6 pm.

Moreover, the peak glucose levels recorded among the former were roughly about 18% higher than the latter, and the amount of fat burned overnight decreased by a patterned difference of 10% between the two.

“LD induces nocturnal glucose intolerance, and reduces fatty acid oxidation and mobilization, particularly in earlier sleepers. These effects might promote obesity if they recur chronically,” the authors conclude.