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Rethinking the midday meal.

Whether it's called dinner, supper, or tea, the evening meal is the main meal of the day for most Americans. For the French, on the other hand, the main meal comes at lunchtime. Some think this, rather than wine consumption, may account for the fact that the French have a lower risk of heart disease, although they consume as much fat as we do.

Normally, we Americans take in only a third or so of our daily calories before the evening meal; by that time, the French have consumed nearly two-thirds of theirs. Our evening meal is also likely to have been preceded by a snack in midafternoon. The Frenchman also spends the next 5-1/2 hours working after his heaviest meal of the day; conversely, his American cousin usually becomes a couch potato after dinner.

Whether these differences represent cause and effect regarding heart disease remains to be seen. In any event, there is something to be said for taking one's heaviest meal at mid-day, with the opportunity to work off some of those calories before the evening's relaxation. Also, a lighter evening meal is more conducive to a restful night's sleep.
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Title Annotation:placing the heaviest meal during midday may help promote better health
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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