If You Eat Dinner After 7 PM, Stop! It's Really Bad For You

If you skip breakfast and eat late meals, you might be at a greater risk for high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems.

Telegraph reports that through a recent observational study, cardiologists have determined that those who eat a late meal -- within two hours of going to bed -- are at an increased risk for heart disease. As it stands, one in four Britons suffers from hypertension, aka high blood pressure, which is one of the key risks for heart disease.

In many of these cases, it’s because blood pressure isn’t dropping properly overnight. This is where the late eating comes in. The study looked at 700 adults with high blood pressure to see what kind of difference their eating times were making. The results were pretty surprising.

Of those who ate dinner within two hours of bed, 24% had a blood pressure that did not drop as it should have overnight. Compare this to 14% who ate their evening meals earlier, and we’re starting to see a pattern.

According to the Independent, blood pressure is supposed to fall 10% during the night. When that does not happen, the body is left on high alert, which encourages the production of stress hormones and disrupts your body’s natural eat/sleep rhythm.

Dr. Ebru Ozpelit, a professor of cardiology at Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir, Turkey, associates this common, "erratic" eating pattern with the modern lifestyle. She explains that with the invention of artificial lighting, we have trained ourselves to stay awake longer and eat later. I’d argue that with long work days, many of us don’t have much of a choice.

Based on this study, the doctors involved seem to agree that a small dinner by 7 o'clock at the latest, and a healthy breakfast will help prevent cardiovascular problems…but my question is this: What if I eat breakfast at noon, dinner at 10, and go to sleep at 1 in the morning? I didn’t skip any meals and I ate outside of that 2-hour limit, so I should be okay, right?

As it goes, the study is far from complete. Cardiologists plan to use a bigger audience and consider these outside variables. I look forward to learning more about the answers to my questions, as I’m sure you do as well!