The Amazing Health Benefits of Eating Dinner Early

Replace late-night meals for an early-bird special may improve your overall health.

Aug 10, 2020

For many people, dinnertime is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the day and connect with family or friends over a delicious meal. A recent study shows eating dinner early has many great health benefits for you and your family. So try to arrange for an early supper; your metabolism will thank you and you may even have a better night’s sleep!

In the past, dinner was ready promptly at 6 pm with family members gathering around the table, ready to dig into the roast chicken and mashed potatoes. These days, dinner is eaten later, anytime between 8 to 11 pm. Today, people are busier, with many working long hours at home or in the workplace. As well as the social aspect of going out to dinner in the evening after work.

Although society has changed, the human body has remained the same. The study that was published in  Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in June 2020, found that: “eating a late dinner is associated with weight gain and high blood sugar levels, regardless if the meal is the same that you would have eaten earlier.” 

You may believe that each calorie is counted equally, but calories eaten late at night aren’t digested the same as those consumed during the day. Dr. Jonathan C. Jun, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University and the author of the study, told  Healthline, “if you eat out of phase with your body’s normal circadian rhythm, you don’t metabolize glucose the same way.”

In the study, the researchers discovered that those who ate dinner at 10 pm experienced peak blood sugar levels 20 percent higher than people who ate dinner at 6 pm.The late eaters’ fat burning also decreased by ten percent.

That’s because, “the later we eat, more are the chances of the food lying in the intestines, affecting the digestion. The body uses everything we eat. If the calories produced are not put to use, it is stored as fat,” Clinical Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta told NDTV.

By eating earlier, the food can be fully digested, positively affecting your quality of sleep and energy levels. Additionally,eating lighter and earlier is advisable for people who suffer from disorders like diabetes, thyroid, PCOD, and cardiovascular diseases.

According to Healthline, if your schedule doesn’t permit you to eat early, you should have a healthy, high-protein snack in the afternoon. This can be a Greek yogurt with nuts, an apple with peanut butter or cottage cheese with flax seeds. When it comes time for dinner, your meal won’t be as heavy and even if you eat later, it will be easier on your body to digest.

Although typical dinner times have become later and later, you can try your best to stick to an earlier schedule. With proper meal planning and setting aside a specific time each day to eat dinner, your digestive system will show appreciation.

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JACKIE SCHINDLER, CONTIRBUTOR
Jackie Schindler teaches EFL to students between the ages of 5-15. She is passionate about making English relevant, fun and memorable. She always tries to look on the bright side in every situation. She is an avid reader, writer, traveler and always on the hunt for the best iced coffee.