When You Eat Can Affect Your Health 3

A young woman snacks on pizza in bed.

Eating right and at the right time is important to staying healthy. Photo by Handy Wicaksono on Unsplash.

It’s important to watch what you eat, but do you watch when you eat? In a recent study by the American Heart Association, researchers found that what time you eat may affect your health, impacting your risk for heart attack, stroke, and other devastating diseases.


Everyone runs on a different internal clock that dictates how their food metabolizes. However, according to AARP,  studies have found that people who eat breakfast within two hours of waking have a lower risk of heart diseases like high cholesterol and high blood pressure compared to those who skip breakfast. We all know the saying that states breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean you should let its wisdom slide. According to your heart, it is actually the most vital meal.


As for dinner, eating later in the evening makes it harder for the body to process what you’re putting into it. Humans are diurnal, so your metabolism is designed to start slowing down at night as the sun goes down and your body prepares to receive restorative rest. Your metabolism gets even slower when you sleep, so if you want to capitalize on when every system in your body is ready to turn the food you eat into fuel, eat early!

Reducing your Risk

The American Heart Association offers a few guidelines for reducing your risk of heart disease and type two diabetes. They recommend spreading out your caloric intake throughout the day and that you stick to a regular eating schedule. Eating at different times each day is bad for your heart and makes it harder to maintain a healthy weight.

Experts recommend meal prepping as a way to help with both eating healthy and eating at appropriate times. When you plan your meals and snacks, you can be deliberate with your choices instead of just grabbing something when and where you can. It also means you can eat whenever you get hungry, which usually happens around certain times of the day. When meal prepping, ensure you know the portion sizes and avoid low-nutrient, high-calorie foods.

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This article was updated on 6/7/24.

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