Heart health may depend on meal timing

Reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk partly depends on the correct timing and frequency of meals, according to a new scientific statement.

Published in the journal Circulation, the statement points to data that suggest that irregular eating patterns appear less favourable for achieving a healthy cardiometabolic profile.

Not skipping breakfast and allocating more calories earlier in the day may be fundamental to getting the mix right. So too is regular meals and avoiding all-day grazing, say the authors who also stress the importance of a healthy diet.

Occasional fasting is okay as there is evidence that it may be effective for weight loss - at least in the short-term - and lowering triglyceride concentration but it has little or no effect on total, LDL or HDL cholesterol concentrations.

The authors point to the link between eating breakfast and having lower heart disease risk factors.

Studies have found people who eat breakfast daily are less likely to have high cholesterol and blood pressure while those who skip it are more likely to be obese, have inadequate nutrition, have impaired glucose metabolism or be diagnosed with diabetes.

Meal timing and frequency have also been linked to risk factors for heart disease and stroke including obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose levels, insulin resistance, as well as reduced insulin sensitivity in studies.