London: Are you one of those people who skip their first meal of the day or eat a late breakfast and dinner? Beware, you may be at risk of heart attack, warns a study.
The study suggested eating the first meal of the day at 8am and dinner by 8pm to avoid risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world according to the Global Burden of Disease study, with 18.6 million annual deaths in 2019, of which around 7.9 are attributable to diet. This means that diet plays a major role in the development and progression of these diseases.
The study by French research institute INRAE - National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment showed that having a first meal later in the day (such as when skipping breakfast), is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, with a 6 per cent increase in risk per hour delay.
For example, a person who eats for the first time at 9 m is 6 per cent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than someone who eats at 8am.
When it comes to the last meal of the day, eating late (after 9pm) is associated with a 28 per cent increase in the risk of cerebrovascular disease such as stroke compared with eating before 8pm, particularly in women.
Finally, a longer duration of night-time fasting -- the time between the last meal of the day and the first meal of the following day -- is associated with a reduced risk of cerebrovascular disease, supporting the idea of eating one's first and last meals earlier in the day.
For the study, published in Nature Communications, the scientists used data from 103,389 participants to study the associations between food intake patterns and cardiovascular disease.
The findings, which need to be replicated in other cohorts and through additional scientific studies with different designs, highlight a potential role for meal timing in preventing cardiovascular disease.
The team suggest that adopting the habit of eating earlier first and last meals with a longer period of night-time fasting could help to prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease.