Healthy living habits include eating dinner earlier — it may also help keep weight down.
Older adults are particularly vulnerable to heart attacks, strokes and other conditions as they age, but they are also at higher risk for diabetes and high blood pressure.
Research shows that people who eat dinner earlier tend to have lower blood pressures and less weight gain over time.
So, on most days, eating dinner at about the same time every day keeps your blood pressure and waistline in check, said Brian Wansink, professor and director of the Mind Research Network at the University of Minnesota.
In fact, eating dinner later may help keep your body weight down, said Wansink, who has co-authored a study on the subject, called the Health Benefits of Evening Meals.
But eating later is not without its problems: Eating later may lead to higher blood pressure and may cause you to eat more food, which could cause weight gain.
“Eating later can be hard because you have to grab breakfast, have a family dinner, then have lunch, and then it gets hard to sit down and have a meal, ” Wansink said. “But it’s good for us to sit down and eat, because otherwise, our body gets used to having no food for a long time.”
Wansink said you can choose to eat late or not eat late, based on your lifestyle.
“My own theory, which I think is pretty close to the general consensus, is that if you eat dinner in the evening, you’re going to have fewer night-time calories,” Wansink said. “If you eat earlier in the day, you’re going to be more likely to take in more calories, but it’s probably not going to be as many.”
“And if you eat late at night, you’re also going to have more time to spend with your family and enjoy them. I’m not saying that eating later is a good thing, but it’s not a bad thing, either,” he said.
But how exactly does the timing of your meal change the way your body processes food, and consequently the way your body uses calories?
To find out, Wansink