But what’s eating late? The ideal is to eat between 13.30 and 14.00 hours, says the professor of Physiology at the University of Murcia, but in Spain the main meal is made from 15.00 hours.
“We have shown that there is a daily rhythm in the microbiota,” explains Garaulet. This means that the diversity of bacteria changes throughout the day and night. “And the more diversity, the better health,” he says.
A change of pace they have observed in a study published in the scientific journal The Faseb Journal, focused on ten women, aged 22-23 and thin, who ate the same thing, but one week at 14.00 and another week at 17.30 hours.
This study included the participation of Dr. María Carmen Collado, a researcher at the Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), and Frank Scheer, a researcher at Harvard University.
“We have seen a complete reversal of the pattern of the rhythm of the bacteria that, in just one week, adapt in their composition, diversity and abundance according to the time of the meal, thus changing their rhythm,” said Marta Garaulet in an interview with EFEsalud.
The consequences of eating late
That change in mealtime from week to week can have physiological consequences on people.
“The rhythms associated with eating late are more obesogenic, more inflammatory. And it could partly explain why when people eat late they lose less weight in a dietary treatment,” he says.
And it’s especially seen in oral bacteria. Saliva is important because with it we swallow millions of bacteria that colonize the intestine.
“It has been demonstrated, according to a recent study published in “Science”, that it is oral bacteria that we swallow have an important influence on the inflammation of the intestine and on diseases such as Crohn’s,” says Marta Garaulet.
“In this way we are explaining why eating late at the main meal, at noon, which accounts for 45% of the energy of the day, is a massive energy input and the bacteria adapts and that adaptation when it is very late can be associated with metabolic problems.
That’s why midday food is studied in patients, because it is the main meal of the day. A custom that we have in Spain, as well as in Greece, Italy, France and Portugal and that is associated with better metabolic health and compared to other European countries that give prominence to dinner.
According to Marta Garaulet, it is ideal to eat between 13.30 and 14.00. But there are still unknowns to be resolved.
“The big question is whether it depends on the time of fasting from breakfast, whether it depends on the actual time of day or on your biological clock since there are people who have the late chronotype and eat at three in the afternoon, in their biological clock, is like eating at one in the afternoon for others, “says the expert in chronobiology.
It’s not that simple, but in general,” she adds, “it can be said that eating after three o’clock is too late for a strong meal and we are seeing that it can have repercussions on metabolic problems and, above all, on weight loss, not only in slimming diets but also in subjects who have undergone surgery for morbid obesity.
In these cases, as seen in studies, those who lost little weight the first year after surgery, 70% ate after three, while those who lose weight from the beginning and maintain it eat much earlier at noon.
While science resolves these doubts, making food before three and that is the highest calorie intake of the day becomes the healthiest options for our body.