Eating late at night increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes by raising levels of harmful blood fats, warns new research. Late night eating habits disrupt the working of the body’s biological clock.
The National Autonomous University of Mexico examined blood fat levels in rats fed at different times of the day.
It found that when the animals ate at the start of their rest period, there was a dramatic spike in blood fats, compared to if they were fed just before they became active.
The blood fats, called triglycerides, are produced in the liver and come from meat, dairy products and cooking oils. They can clog arteries and inflame the pancreas, leading to heart disease or diabetes.
High blood fat levels are associated with heart disease and diabetes. These diseases are associated with a lifestyle where humans ignore the signals of the biological clock and eat in the evening and night.
Study leader Ruud Buijs said: “The fact that we can ignore our biological clock is important for survival, we can decide to sleep during the day when we are extremely tired or we run away from danger at night.”
“However, doing this frequently, with shift work, jet lag, or staying up late at night, will harm our health in the long-term especially when we eat at times when we should sleep.”
Eating late at night is closely linked to high levels of triglyceride in the blood. The body is less able to process triglycerides when we eat at the wrong time, the study found.
Delayed eating also led them to store carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain and raised blood sugar and insulin levels, increasing the risk of diabetes.
It’s time to kick the habit of late night snacking after new research suggests it could lead to a potentially deadly condition.
If the circadian clock is ignored, health and well-being are also impacted. The findings are published in the journal Experimental Physiology.