When life gets busy, it can be difficult to stick to a strict schedule which means that you may end up eating whenever you happen to get a few free minutes. You might even delay your meals until the end of the day and find yourself devouring something quickly before you head to bed.
This sort of habit will not only leave you hungry throughout the day, but a new study recently published by the Science journal has shown that it can actually make you age faster.
Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas took a look at animals that either ate whenever they wanted as well as how much they desired, and others that were being fed calorie-restricted diets at specific times.
They found that those who ate during the day lived almost 20% longer than those who ate whenever and whatever they wanted That went up to 35% for those who ate during active phases of the day.
"When you eat earlier, your body has more time to digest your food and use the energy from that food," Onyx Adegbola, MD PhD, a physician-scientist and lifestyle medicine physician, as well as the founder of Casa de Sante, tells Eat This, Not That!.
On the other hand, Adegbola says, "When you eat later, your body is trying to digest food while you are sleeping, which can lead to problems such as indigestion or acid reflux."
Adegbola also notes that "the body's natural clock, or circadian rhythm, is regulated by the release of certain hormones and is also affected by when a person eats." Apparently, "the body's cells use less energy when they're not working as hard, so they accumulate less damage and 'wear and tear' when they're not being used as much."
Beyond that, Adegbola explains that "the circadian rhythm is an internal clock that regulates when we feel alert or sleepy," and is "influenced by things like light and darkness, food and exercise, and stress."
It's important to note that when we eat late at night (or close to when we should be sleeping), it can throw off our circadian rhythm and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
In turn, "this can lead to problems like sleep deprivation, which has been linked to health problems like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes," Adegbola said.
To find out more about when you should schedule your meals, be sure to read This Is the Best Time to Eat Lunch for Lasting Energy, Say Nutritionists.