Link Between Dinner Time and Acidity : What time do you eat dinner in your household?
As it turns out, a study of 647 people shows that some digestive trouble, namely acidity, is linked to the time you eat dinner.
Data shows that only 5% of all those eating dinner at 7 pm report trouble with acidity. Whereas nearly 38% of those eating dinner at 9 PM report trouble with acidity.
Before you start altering your family schedules, let’s take a moment to dig deeper into this.
First, let’s understand the context.
Food usually spends between 2 to 4 hours in your stomach. A light meal rich in fruits, soup or easily digestible food spends less time in your tummy while a heavy meal rich in protein and fat usually spends more time in the stomach. Research conclusively proves that you need to be sitting vertically after a meal for your digestive system to work at its best. This has to do with gravity, the force which naturally pulls food down from your mouth to your colon.
Imagine eating upside down, or while sleeping on your bed. A bad posture is undeniably linked to sub-optimal digestion. Sub-optimal digestion is linked to acidity. If you eat your dinner early, there is a good chance that your meal has already made it into your duodenum (i.e. small intestine) by the time you are in bed.
The link. therefore, may not be between dinnertime and acidity. It may be between the food you eat, dinnertime, bedtime and acidity.
There is another compounding factor: stress.
A late dinner is usually a pattern that sets in with poor work timings. Long hours at work combined with long commutes are very common, and often an ideal breeding ground for
stress build up.
Evidence unquestionably links stress to acid reflux , although the mechanism remains a mystery.
Again, dinnertime may be an indicator for stress, and stress may lead to more frequent acid reflux.
There is yet another factor: your circadian rhythm.
The new field of biochronology suggests that human bodies are designed to work in tandem
with sunlight. Some evidence indicates that our digestive system may slow down after sunset. This is why most ancient cultures – the Indians, Japanese and Chinese – believed in eating their last meal of the day just before sunset.
What does a slow digestive system mean? Less saliva in the mouth, less stomach acid generation, fewer pancreatic enzymes, slower bile production and longer gut transit times.
In fact, a few studies show that intermittent fasting yields the best results when done in line with our body’s circadian rhythm.
So before you rush to change your family’s dinner time to an earlier moment in the day, remember:
- Eating lighter
- Eating in line with your unique circadian rhythm
- Keeping a gap between dinnertime and bedtime AND
- Practicing mindfulness (in any form) to control stress will likely do far more for your digestive system than just a change in mealtime.
Remember: causation is not equal to correlation.
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Link Between Dinner Time and Acidity
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