Is There an Ideal Time to Eat Dinner?

People's habits have changed over the past two years, and that includes what time they eat. Many people no longer have to commute, meaning there's no reason to wait on dinner. But that begs the question – is there an actual best time of the day to eat dinner?

Well, some experts have weighed in and the truth is, it depends.

Registered dietician Tracy Lockwood Beckerman tells the site that “between 6 and 8 p.m.,” is considered an “ideal dinnertime,” mostly because you’ll then have enough time to digest before going to bed between 10 pm and 11 pm. But of course, not everyone goes to bed at that time, so an “ideal” time could depend on whether you wake up early or go to bed late. 

Beckerman suggests night owls eat late, which will help keep them from going for a “mindless” late-night snack, which translates to “empty calories.” But eating dinner too late can affect sleep. Beckerman says being too full at bedtime can lead to acid reflux, while Alisa Vitti, a functional nutritionist and the CEO of Flo Living, adds it can “increase inflammation,” and also “make weight management more difficult,” plus it could even increase the chances of night sweats or hot flashes.”’

Gender and hormones could also factor into decisions on when's a good time to eat, so, the truth is there is no “ideal” dinner time, and folks really need to do what’s best for them. “People should eat at a time that is realistic for their lifestyles and sleep habits,” Beckerman said. “That may mean eating a later lunch during the day if you know you won’t sit down for dinner until 9 p.m., which is totally OK!”

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