In April 2019 researchers from Australia published their review of the medical scientific literature to assess the effect of eating a meal at night compared with the same meal eaten during the day on postprandial lipaemia. The researchers stated that eating at night time, as is frequent in shift workers, may contribute to increased cardiovascular disease risk due to a disruption in normal lipid metabolism, resulting in repeated and sustained hyperlipidemia at night. A total of 5 studies met the search criteria and were included in the review. All studies had a meal time between 0700-1600 hours for day time and between 2000-0400 hours for night time, and had test meals (food or drink) that were identical in macronutrient composition and energy. Results showed that all studies had at least one parameter of the postprandial triacylglycerol response that was different as a result of meal time. Two studies reported a greater total triacylglycerol level at night time compared with during the day, whereas 3 studies found no difference. However, it was noted that inconsistent reporting was a limitation of the review. The researchers concluded that night time eating may increase post-prandial lipid levels. Further research is therefore required with larger sample sizes so that informed strategies can be implemented to reduce cardiovascular disease risk for shift workers.
Bonham MP et al. Effect of Night Time Eating on Postprandial Triglyceride Metabolism in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Literature Review. J Biol Rhythms. 2019 Apr;34(2):119-130.