Updated: August 26, 2011

YOU KNOW SKIPPING MEALS CAN LEAVE YOU RAVENOUS-and may even pack on pounds-but putting off eating could also raise your heart disease risk. Experts at the USDA Agricultural Research Service found that people who ate most of their food between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. had higher cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels than those who consumed three square meals with the same number of calories. The night eaters also felt much hungrier and less satisfied throughout the day.

"People who train themselves to go all day without eating much are often so hungry by the time they get home, they reach for high-calorie, nutrition-poor foods," says Cheryl Forberg, R.D., author of Positively Ageless: A 28-Day Plan for a Younger, Slimmer, Sexier You. Plus, your body can only absorb a certain amount of nutrients in one sitting (the rest pass through your system), so you'll get a lot more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants by spreading out your intake than you will chowing down on everything at once.

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