Is it healthier to eat a cheeseburger and fries at dinner than it is at lunch? It could be, based on your interpretation of a new study looking at food choices, nutrient timing, and heart health.
But that doesn’t mean doing so is good for you.
Researchers found that adults favoring a Western-style lunch, heavy on processed meat cheese, refined grains, fat, and sugar, had a much higher risk for early death from heart disease.
On the other hand, those who ate more vegetables had a lower risk.
No surprise there.
But there was a rather interesting finding. Researchers specified western-style lunches as a major risk factor for heart disease. They also noted that eating vegetables at dinner time had a big benefit, but people who ate more veggies at lunch didn’t have the same result.
Here are some of the numbers:
- In general, people that ate more plant foods had a lower risk of dying during the 11-year study period. Those who processed foods had a higher risk.
- One-quarter of people who ate the most Western lunches were 44 percent more likely to die of heart disease, compared to the one-quarter who ate them the least.
- People who ate a lot of fruit for lunch were one-third less likely to die from heart disease than those who did not eat fruit at lunch
- The one-quarter who ranked highest in “vegetable” dinner patterns were 23 percent less likely to die from heart trouble and 31 percent less likely to die from any cause
- People that regularly snacked on chips and “starchy” snacks at any time were 50 percent more likely to die from heart trouble or other causes.
The study is interesting but is in no way a dietary guideline. Focusing on overall diet quality is the most important thing for your heart and is right up there with activity.
Eating fruits and vegetables, roughly two/three and three/four servings per day, is the best strategy. It allows for a regular flow of fiber and nutrition to the body. Don’t think that your salad, nuts, and apple for lunch aren’t beneficial because of this study’s findings.
As always, limit intake of fatty foods and avoid them in between means for the best shot at a healthy heart.