Recent research highlights a clear connection between the timing of meals and heart health. Postponing breakfast and eating dinner late have been linked to increased risks of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, respectively. On the other hand, prolonging the fasting period overnight seems to diminish these risks. These insights propose that having meals earlier and fasting for longer durations overnight could be beneficial in preventing heart diseases. Source: SciTechPost.com
The study, involving over 100,000 participants, suggests that early daytime eating and extended fasting during the night could decrease the likelihood of heart-related diseases.
Globally, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality, as reported by the Global Burden of Disease study. In 2019, these diseases accounted for 18.6 million deaths annually, with approximately 7.9 million linked to dietary habits. This underscores the significant role diet plays in the onset and progression of cardiovascular conditions. The dietary patterns prevalent in Western societies, like late dinners or missing breakfast, are particularly noteworthy.
Chrononutrition is a burgeoning field that examines how meal timings and fasting intervals affect the body’s internal clocks or circadian rhythms. These rhythms, in turn, influence vital cardiometabolic functions, including blood pressure regulation.
Chrononutrition’s Influence on Cardiovascular Health
Data from 103,389 individuals in the NutriNet-Santé cohort (consisting of 79% women, average age 42) was analyzed to explore the relationship between eating patterns and heart diseases. To mitigate potential biases, factors like sociodemographics, diet quality, lifestyle, and sleep cycles were considered.
The findings indicate that delaying the first meal of the day (as in skipping breakfast) correlates with an increased risk of heart diseases—specifically, a 6% heightened risk for each hour of delay. For instance, eating the first meal at 9 a.m. poses a 6% higher risk than eating at 8 a.m.
Eating the last meal late in the day (after 9 p.m.) is linked with a 28% escalated risk of cerebrovascular conditions like strokes, especially in women, compared to dining before 8 p.m.
Moreover, a longer duration of fasting at night is associated with a lower risk of cerebrovascular diseases. This supports the practice of earlier meals for both the first and last meal of the day.
Key Insights on Meal Timing and Heart Health
While these findings need further validation through additional studies, they underscore the potential importance of meal timing in preventing heart diseases. The practice of eating earlier in the day and extending the fasting period at night might contribute to reducing cardiovascular risks.
Reference: “Dietary circadian rhythms and cardiovascular disease risk in the prospective NutriNet-Santé cohort” by Anna Palomar-Cros et al., published on 14 December 2023 in Nature Communications.
About the NutriNet-Santé Study
The NutriNet-Santé study, a public health research project led by the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team (EREN-CRESS), investigates the link between nutrition and health. Launched in 2009 with over 175,000 participants, the study has contributed to over 270 international scientific publications. The study still invites participants from France to further explore dietary impacts on health.
Participants contribute to this research by providing monthly updates via the secure online platform etude-nutrinet-sante.fr, helping to enhance understanding of the diet-health relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Chrononutrition
What is the main finding of the recent study on meal timing and heart health?
The study reveals that delaying the first meal and eating the last meal late in the day increases the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Conversely, longer overnight fasting periods are associated with a reduced risk, suggesting that earlier meals and extended fasting might help prevent these diseases.
How does meal timing influence cardiovascular risks?
Meal timing, particularly having the first meal later and the last meal late at night, is linked to an increased risk of heart-related diseases. This includes a 6% increase in cardiovascular disease risk per hour delay for the first meal and a 28% increase in cerebrovascular disease risk for late-night meals.
Chrononutrition is a field that studies the relationship between the timing of food intake, the body’s circadian rhythms, and overall health. It suggests that synchronizing meal times with the body’s internal clocks can positively influence cardiometabolic functions, potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
What were the key methodologies of the NutriNet-Santé study?
The study analyzed data from 103,389 participants, accounting for various factors like age, sex, dietary quality, lifestyle, and sleep cycle. This was to ensure accurate assessment of the associations between food intake patterns and cardiovascular disease risk.
Can changing meal timings be a preventive measure for cardiovascular diseases?
The findings of the study suggest that adopting habits of eating earlier in the day and extending the night-time fasting period could be beneficial in preventing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, these findings need further validation through additional research.
More about Chrononutrition
- Nature Communications: “Dietary circadian rhythms and cardiovascular disease risk in the prospective NutriNet-Santé cohort”
- NutriNet-Santé Study Website
- SciTechPost Article: “The Chrononutrition Effect: The Easy Way To Reduce Cardiovascular Risk”