Early eating reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, study suggests

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Starting to eat before 8:30 a.m. could help lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance, thereby decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study presented at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting.

Lead researcher, Dr. Marriam Ali from Northwestern University in Chicago, stated, “We found people who started eating earlier in the day had lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance, regardless of whether they restricted their food intake to less than 10 hours a day or their food intake was spread over more than 13 hours daily.”

The Insulin Resistance Factor

Insulin resistance, a condition in which the body doesn’t respond as efficiently to the insulin produced by the pancreas, can lead to higher blood glucose levels and potentially type 2 diabetes.

Both high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance disrupt normal metabolic processes involving proteins, carbohydrates (or sugars), and fats, potentially leading to metabolic disorders like diabetes.

Timing Matters

Aiming to expand our understanding of nutritional strategies to tackle the growing concern of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, the research team focused on the impact of eating earlier in the day on metabolic measures.

The team analyzed data from 10,575 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, dividing participants into three groups based on total duration of food intake: less than 10 hours, 10-13 hours, and more than 13 hours per day.

They further subdivided these groups based on whether eating started before or after 8:30 a.m.

Despite finding no significant differences in fasting blood sugar levels among the different eating interval groups, they observed higher insulin resistance with shorter eating interval durations, but lower levels across all groups that began eating before 8:30 a.m.

“These findings suggest that timing is more strongly associated with metabolic measures than duration, and supports early eating strategies,” Dr. Ali concluded.

This research adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that when we eat may be as important as what we eat when it comes to metabolic health.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that the MIND diet may reduce the risk of vision loss disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with diabetic neuropathic pain.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that Vitamin E could help reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance in diabetes, and results showing eating eggs in a healthy diet may reduce risks of diabetes and high blood pressure.

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