Health News

Timing Of Meals Is Important For Overall Health, AHA Says

Photo from Pixabay

When it comes to keeping a heart healthy, the American Heart Association (AHA) says it’s important not only to consider what to eat, but also when to eat. The AHA released the statement as a response to the growing body of evidence that timing matters a lot when it comes to reducing heart disease risks.

Marie-Pierre St-Onge, lead author on the study, said that each organ in the human body has its own “clock.” These “clocks” then affect how a person handles food consumption at different times of the day and night, Health Day reports.

St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City, explained,

For example, later in the evening, it’s harder for the body to process glucose [sugar], compared with earlier in the day.

This highlights what science already knows – and what it doesn’t – about meal timing and heart health. While the AHA statement lacks specific rules like the sayings, “Never eat after 8 p.m.,” or “Everyone should eat breakfast,” it has some suggestions.

According to the statement, people should spread the calories they consume over a “defined” period of the day, instead of eating a lot over a short period of time or eating consistently from morning until night. Based on scientific data, the AHA says it’s best to eat a large portion of calories earlier in the day.

St-Onge said, “A long fasting duration at night is better than a long fast during the day.”

There was no announcement, however, that breakfast is the most important meal. There is not enough evidence to make specific recommendations on breakfast, St-Onge noted.

Studies that have focused on breakfast eaters have not proven completely that breakfast deserves all the credit for things like weight loss, better blood pressure or cholesterol levels.

St-Onge admitted that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to eating. But it important for a person to be mindful of when he or she is eating, St-Onge added. “Ask yourself why you’re eating. Is it because you’re stressed or sad or bored? Ask yourself whether you’re really hungry right now.”

The statement was published in the AHA journal Circulation.

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - Get Important Content Like This Delivered Directly To You

Get important content and more delivered to you once or twice a week.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.