To young folks, keeping regularly scheduled meal times probably sounds as old and stuffy as tuning in every weeknight at 7:30pm/6:30pm Central to watch Wheel of Fortune. (I’m not saying Wheel of Fortune is old and stuffy; I’m just saying you should DVR it…or maybe have someone Snapchat it to you.) But a new study suggests that eating on a regular schedule may help ward off obesity and high blood pressure.
According to Health, two recently published papers both suggest that when you eat meals, not just what you eat, could play a factor in your overall health. The first found a possible link between eating more at night and obesity. The other found that eating meals irregularly throughout the day led to higher cholesterol and insulin levels than eating more regularly.
“We found that adults consuming calories during regular meals – at similar times from one day to [the] next – were less obese than people who have irregular meals, despite consuming more calories overall,” says Gerda Pot from King’s College London who was involved with both papers.
Though researchers believe that this negative impact could be based on the effect eating has on our circadian rhythms, a finding from a growing field of study called “chrononutrition,” just how much our eating times alter our health is still not completely understood. “This is a really important and valid question which we unfortunately cannot answer yet,” Pot was quoted as saying. “It would be of great interest to fully understand how much impact disruptions in our circadian rhythms could have on [our] obesity risk.”
Going back to the TV analogy, it actually makes sense. Services like DVR and Netflix have led us to “binge watching” – a habit that is not without its occasional negative consequences. Maybe we were healthier back when things happened during “regular scheduled programming.” We’ll have to wait on the next batch of research for further confirmation though.