Eating at the wrong time of day has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, but there is little research available on how cholesterol may affect it.
Lynn Garton, Heart UK’s dietician consultant, said: “While there is interesting research on the best time to eat, it is not conclusive and more research is needed to better understand how the timing and frequency of meals affect heart health.
“The type of foods you choose and portion sizes will still have the biggest impact on your health.”
Research on how the timing of eating affects cholesterol in general has focused on observational studies.
This means recording people’s typical meal schedule and measuring their cholesterol levels.
One such study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that people who routinely skip breakfast have a higher chance of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Only 59 percent of the 6,550 people in that study ate breakfast each day.
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The group of people who did not eat breakfast had a nearly double risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Researchers go out of their way to point out that there is no definitive causal relationship.
There is a possibility that there is something that increases the likelihood of skipping breakfast and the risk of fatal heart disease.
Researchers say skipping breakfast should be seen as a risk sign rather than a cause.
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Other abnormal eating habits are less common, which makes it difficult to collect large amounts of data on them.
A report in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that anorexia and bulimia affect cholesterol levels.
Eating disorders still cause severe harm and malnutrition, but cholesterol specifically is not affected.
Other chronic conditions have found stronger links to eating at the “wrong” times.
Studies have found that night shift workers have an increased risk of diabetes and cancer, with the World Health Organization classifying night shift workers as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
The risk of developing diabetes was found to be significantly lower when the night-shift workers maintained a meal plan during the day.
The suspected reason is that eating at the wrong time can confuse the body’s time-keeping mechanisms, causing changes in how sugar is used.
High cholesterol is a common risk factor for heart disease and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Exercise can improve cholesterol levels when done regularly.
There are also diets that can improve cholesterol, which often includes reducing meat intake.
There are also medications that can increase or decrease cholesterol.