People who want a healthy heart should be mindful of not only what they eat, but when they eat, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA).
The report is a response to the growing evidence that timing matters when it comes to heart disease risk, said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, the lead author of the statement. The various organs of the body have their own “clocks,” St-Onge explained, and that may affect how we handle food at different times of the day and night.
“For example, later in the evening, it’s harder for the body to process glucose [sugar], compared with earlier in the day,” said St-Onge, an associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City.
The new statement highlights what’s known — and what’s not — about meal timing and heart health. The statement lacks specific rules, such as “Never eat after 8 p.m.,” or “Everyone should eat breakfast.”
It does, however, suggest that people spread out their calories over a “defined” period of the day — as opposed to either eating a lot over a short period, or grazing from morning until night. Based on the evidence, the AHA says, it’s probably a good idea to get a large share of your calories earlier in the day.
A balanced nutrition is essential towards maintaining a healthy heart. In addition, new evidence has demonstrated that the timing of meals can also influence heart health. Scheduling bigger meals in the morning and fasting for longer periods of time can affect overall health. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.