A study of nearly 1,200 UK adults, being presented at this year's European and International Conference on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there is a link between eating a larger proportion of one's daily energy intake during the evening and having a higher total energy intake and lower quality of diet.
In recent decades there has been a growing interest in how the timing of our food consumption can influence metabolism and other physiological processes. Sensations of hunger follow a strong daily rhythmic pattern and are often most intense later in the day. This phenomenon could influence both the type and amount of food we eat.
Across the whole sample group, eating during the evening provided an average of almost 40% (39.8%) of daily energy intake (EI). The authors found a significant variation in total EI across the different quartiles, with individuals in the lowest quartile of evening EI consuming fewer calories in total over the day than those in the other three quartiles.
The results suggest that consuming a lower proportion of EI in the evening may be associated with a lower daily energy intake, while consuming a greater proportion of energy intake in the evening may be associated with a lower diet quality score. Timing of energy intake may be an important modifiable behaviour to consider in future nutritional interventions. Further analysis is now needed to examine whether the distribution of energy intake and/or the types of food consumed in the evening are associated with measures of body composition and cardiometabolic health.