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Better Heart Health with Earlier Meals

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Eating more of your calories earlier in the day has many benefits, but a new study suggest that it may be extra important for women’s heart health.

                Though this isn’t an unexpected finding (eating most of your calories earlier in the day has long been known to improve health in all areas, regardless of gender), it does provide another reason to help protect your heart if you are a woman.  New research presented by the American Heart Association at one of their Scientific Sessions of 2019 has emphasized that women, in particular, are at risk of poorer heart health if they consume their biggest meal at night.  Eating later in the evening leads to less efficient metabolism of the food and puts more stress on the body and its metabolism.

Using a checklist called “Life’s Simple 7,” the AHA looked at criteria such as BMI, blood pressure, blood sugar, physical activity, and cholesterol in a study of women who ate before 6 pm and those who ate after 6 pm.

Though the AHA has not yet determined the exact amount of calories that should be eaten after 6 pm, the research group found that every 1% increase in calories eaten after 6 pm was associated with a lower score on their testing criteria.  These lower scores directly correlate to risk factors for heart disease.

Women who ate a large amount of their daily calories after 6 pm were at risk, but even more so were women who ate most of their calories after 8 pm.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.

The study recommends that if you have to eat after 6 pm, aim to eat less than 30% of your daily total caloric allowance in the evening.

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