Our bodies regulate cortisone, melatonin and digestive enzymes according to our daily routine. This helps us metabolise calories, ensure adequate energy through out the day, and relax and wind down at night. Keeping a regular routine is recommended for long term health.
A recent study has shown that early dinners can optimise this routine – by eating early, there is an 18% lower peak in blood sugar, and a 10% higher burning of fat. Conversely, eating late night suppers or snacks, predisposes towards obesity and metabolic syndrome, which is associated with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and heart attack and stroke risk.
Importantly, the study looked at the relationship between eating and sleeping – there appears a need for an adequate period of time for the body to digest food properly, before going to sleep. For those snacking late and then sleeping soon afterwards, there were higher sugar levels during the night and also in the morning. However for those snacking late but also sleeping late, this disadvantage was not observed.
This helpful research shows that it’s not only what you eat, but also how you eat that matters. Eating earlier in the day, with larger meals for breakfast or lunch, and curbing late night hunger with low glycaemic index snacks in the afternoon, may help. Here’s the crunch – eating the same calories, but doing it late in the day, increases weight gain. Let’s share this advice with family and friends, considering two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese!