London – We have all heard the old adage that we should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
Now a study suggests that following the advice could prevent women from developing heart disease and help them to stay trim. Scientists found that women who eat a large proportion of their daily calories in the evening have poorer heart health.
They suggested that eating the biggest meal at night goes against our internal body clock.
Researchers in the US spent a year tracking the heart health of 112 women, who had an average age of 33. The women kept a diary showing what they ate and at what time, which was compared with their heart test results. It was found that the more people ate after 6pm – either in evening meals or late-night snacking – the worse their cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. They were also more likely to be overweight.
The study funded by the American Heart Association found that heart health declined with every one percent increase in the proportion of calories consumed in the evening.
Lead author Nour Makarem, from Columbia University in New York, said it can be harder for the body to process food at night than in the day, which can lead to the body’s metabolic system not working properly – increasing the risk of heart disease.
In 1954, nutritionist Adelle Davis coined the phrase about eating breakfast like a king to suggest that it was better to eat a bigger meal in the morning to supply energy throughout the day, and lighter evening meals when fewer calories are required.