Nov 13, 2023 - Food and Drink

5pm dinner isn't just for older people in Detroit

Dinner reservation times in Detroit
Data: Resy; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

The 5pm dinner reservations are more popular now across the U.S. than over the last five years, according to data reservation software company Resy shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Experts say the trend of eating dinner earlier could benefit your metabolic health.

Zoom in: Reservations made for the 7 o'clock and 8 o'clock hours in Detroit have dropped compared with 2019, while reservations at 5pm are up slightly.

  • Our stats don't perfectly reflect the national trends, though, as 9 o'clock hour reservations are about the same here. Nationally, those are down while 5pm reservations are up more significantly.

What they're saying: Limiting your calorie intake close to bedtime — about three to four hours before bed — could help with blood sugar control and weight management, says Frank Scheer, Harvard Medical School professor and Medical Chronobiology Program director.

  • "When we delay the food intake and keep everything else the same, that by itself leads to an increase in cravings, changes in appetite hormones and fewer calories burnt across the waking hours," said Scheer, who has conducted research around mealtime and metabolic health.
  • The reason is likely connected to the circadian clock, which reduces the energy we burn after a meal in the evening, he says.

Meanwhile, it's not just dinners that are happening more frequently at 5pm — so are workouts.

  • According to Future fitness app data from April to June, 5pm was the most popular time to start a workout among a sample of 20,000 users.
  • That's a major shift from 2019, when the app's most popular workout start time was before 7am — possibly ahead of a work commute.

Zoom out: The shift to eating and exercising while the sun's still out appears to be part of a larger trend to prioritize work-life balance and sleep over hustle culture.


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