This is the best time to eat dinner to avoid diabetes, high blood pressure, study says

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Do you devour your last, big meal at night? Consider adjusting your dinnertime, because eating too late in the evening may lead to high blood pressure and prediabetes among Hispanics, according to a new report.

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Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center recently conducted a study, which was recently presented at a American Heart Association conference, to determine the link between meal times and hypertension risk.

To do so, they used the Hispanic Community Health Study to examine more than 12,000 Hispanic adults aged 18 to 76. They then recorded their daily caloric intake, specifically observing the amount of calories they consumed after 6 p.m.

After analyzing the results, they found more than half of the participants ate more than 30 percent of their food after 6 p.m., and doing so was associated with a 23 percent higher risk of developing high blood pressure and a 19 percent higher risk of becoming pre-diabetic.

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They said every additional 20 calories (based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet) eaten after 6 p.m. was linked with higher fasting glucose, insulin and insulin resistance, which can all lead to diabetes. However, they did note there was no apparent connection between nighttime eating and obesity.

"There is increasing evidence that when we eat is important, in addition to what we eat and how much we eat," lead author Nour Makarem said in a statement. "In our study we show that if you eat most of your calories before 6 p.m., you may have better cardiovascular health. Your meal timing matters and eating earlier in the day may be an important strategy to help lower the risk for heart disease."

The scientists said this is the first study of its kind and they hope to administer future investigations that will explore the long-term effects of meal times.

Want to learn more about the findings? Take a look at the full assessment here.

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