Location: Food Surveys Research GroupTitle: Late evening eating patterns among U.S. adults vary in their associations with, and impact on, energy intake and diet quality: Evidence from What We Eat In America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013-2016
Submitted to: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2021
Publication Date: 11/18/2021
Citation: Sebastian, R.S., Enns, C.W., Goldman, J.D., Murayi, T., Moshfegh, A.J. 2021. Late evening eating patterns among U.S. adults vary in their associations with, and impact on, energy intake and diet quality: Evidence from What We Eat In America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013-2016. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2021.11.008.
Interpretive Summary: Eating and drinking late in the day has been associated with higher energy intake and lower nutrient density. We wanted to find out if different evening eating patterns have different associations with energy intake and diet quality. We used nationwide survey data to examine what adults 20 years of age and over eat and drink during the late evening (LE) hours. We defined late evening as being between 8:00 pm and 11:59 pm. If an adult ate or drank anything besides plain water during the late evening, he or she was a “reporter.” Everyone else was a “non-reporter.” We found that nearly 2 out of 3 adults (64%) were LE reporters on the survey day. For LE reporters overall, total daily energy intake was higher than it was for non-reporters, but dietary quality was similar. We saw 11 different patterns of LE eating among U.S. adults. The six most prevalent LE eating patterns showed some variation in their relationships with energy intake and diet quality. Only the fruit pattern had an average daily energy intake that was similar to that of non-reporters. In addition, diet quality was higher for LE reporters in that pattern than for non-reporters. Public health experts, dietitians, nutritionists, and consumers can benefit from this new information about different LE eating patterns' associations with, and impact on, dietary intake of U.S. adults.
Technical Abstract: Eating later in the day has been associated with overall daily intakes higher in energy and lower in nutrient density. However, food/beverage choices vary, so these qualities may not characterize all late evening (LE) eating patterns. We sought to identify differences in LE eating-pattern-specific (1) associations with daily energy intake and total diet quality and (2) impact on daily energy intake and Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2015) scores. We analyzed Day-1 dietary recall data from 9,861 adults (age>/=20 years) in What We Eat in America, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013-2016. We defined “LE reporters” as respondents who consumed foods/beverages other than plain water between 20:00 h and 23:59 h on the intake day. Cluster analysis identified 11 LE eating patterns defined by the energy contribution of specified food groups. We used regression models to estimate total energy intake and HEI-2015 scores and paired two-sided t tests to compare those estimates between LE reporters and non-reporters. Similarly, we estimated the portion of energy and the increase/decrease in total HEI due to LE consumption and compared estimates among LE patterns. Relative to non-reporters, LE reporters in all prevalent patterns except the fruit pattern had higher daily energy (p<0.001), with LE consumption contributing 19-36% of total intake. Conversely, in most patterns, total HEI score was comparable to that of non-reporters and the increase/decrease due to LE consumption was small. Only the fruit pattern was associated with a higher total HEI score (57.4 versus 50.6). These results provide evidence that consuming fruits and 100% juices during the evening improves overall diet quality without the concomitant higher daily energy intake associated with typical LE food choices.