American Heart Association
American Heart Association
November 20, 2018
2 min read

High caloric intake late in day may increase CV risk in Hispanic, Latino adults

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CHICAGO — Eating high-caloric meals after 6 p.m. could lead to an increased risk for hypertension and prediabetes among Hispanic and Latino individuals, according to data presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

A total of 12,708 participants from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos aged 18 to 76 years who were free from cancer and diabetes had their meal timing analyzed.

“There is increasing evidence that when we eat is important, in addition to what we eat and how much we eat,” Nour Makarem, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in cardiology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, said in a press release.

“In our study we show that if you eat most of your calories before 6 p.m., you may have better cardiovascular health,” she said. “Your meal timing matters and eating earlier in the day may be an important strategy to help lower the risk for heart disease.”

The results showed that 35.7% of participants’ daily calorie content was consumed after 6 p.m., and 56.6% reported they consumed at least 30% of their daily caloric intake after 6 p.m.

According to the researchers, every 1% increase in the number of calories consumed after 6 p.m. (20 calories in a 2,000-calorie diet) conferred higher fasting glucose, insulin and insulin resistance, which are all associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

In addition, compared with those who did not, participants who consumed more than 30% of their calories after 6 p.m. had a higher fasting glucose (93.7 mg/dL vs. 93 mg/dL; P = .001), insulin (12.4 mU/L vs. 11.6 mU/L; P = .003), homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (2.9 vs. 2.7; P = .001), systolic BP (118.7 mm Hg vs. 117.5 mm Hg; P = .004) and diastolic BP (72.2 mm Hg vs. 71 mm Hg; P < .0001).

Makarem and colleagues found consuming 30% or more of daily calories after 6 p.m. was associated with a 23% increase in odds of having high BP (OR = 1.23; 95% CI, 1.05-1.44) and 19% higher odds of having prediabetes (OR = 1.19; 95% CI, 1.03-1.37).

Nighttime eating was not associated with odds of being overweight or obese or with central adiposity, according to the researchers.

The study, which was funded by the AHA, is the first population-based study focused on Hispanic and Latino individuals in the United States to show eating a larger percentage of calories in the evening may be associated with developing CVD risk factors, particularly prediabetes and high BP, according to the release. Makarem added that the study is also one of the early reports on meal timing and its association with CHD risk factors within the general U.S. population.

The cross-sectional study collected blood glucose levels, BP and meal timing from participants once without any follow-up. As a result, researchers indicated that any future studies should look at long-term effects of meal timing on risk factors for heart disease. – by Earl Holland


Makarem N, et al. Abstract 281. Presented at: American Heart Association Scientific Sessions; Nov. 10-12, 2018; Chicago.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.