Like shoulder pads and white socks, late dinners are no longer in style. Not just because we’ve brought our timetables up to speed with our European neighbours but because eating late isn't good for us.
Raise your hand if you've ever gone to bed straight after dinner and the next day complained about tossing and turning all night. No wonder. Bring dinner time forward and all that will end.
And that’s not all. Our bodies’ biorhythms begin to fall after 9 pm. If we eat later than that the body needs to overexert itself and absorbs and digests food less efficiently. The result is weight gain and higher levels of insulin and cholesterol. It also negatively impacts fat metabolism and the hormones involved in heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.
How many more reasons do you need to eat earlier?
Connoisseurs call it healthy overnight fasting. Here at MartiDerm, in keeping with our #SmartAging lifestyle, we just call it common sense. Having dinner two or three hours before you go to sleep gives your metabolism the chance to digest nutrients and will leave you feeler much lighter at bedtime. It means you’ll enjoy a deeper and more restorative sleep, free of nightmares and disturbing dreams.
In fact, experts say our bodies are “programmed” to be hungry between 5 and 7 pm and that this is the time when the brain sends us signals that we should eat. But instead of thinking about dinner we often reach for a snack.
The upshot of this behaviour leads directly to dining much later than normal. It also means we go to bed at a later time with our tummies full, leaving us susceptible to nightmares, bloating, acidity and excess weight.
To avoid this, when you start to feel peckish around six or seven o’clock, have a piece of fruit or yoghurt and bring dinner time forward to 8.30 pm.
What should I have? The ideal meal contains vegetables, carbohydrates in the form of brown rice or pasta, and lean meat (fish, skinless chicken).
In what proportion? Half the plate should be vegetables. A quarter of the plate carbohydrates and the final quarter, protein.
It’s not that dining early is a pleasure.
It’s that feeling good is.