Meal timing could influence heart health in people with diabetes, study suggests

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A recent study conducted by scientists from Harbin Medical University has found that the timing of food consumption might be as important as portion size and calorie intake for individuals with diabetes.

The research suggests that reducing the consumption of processed food in the evening could enhance the lifespan of those with this condition.

The term “processed food” encompasses food that has been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged, or has undergone nutritional changes through fortification, preservation, or preparation in various ways.

Essentially, any food that we cook, bake, or prepare undergoes some form of processing.

The researchers analyzed data from 4,642 individuals with diabetes, drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They aimed to determine these individuals’ risk of dying from heart disease.

The study revealed that diabetic individuals who consumed potatoes or starchy vegetables in the morning, whole grains in the afternoon, and dark vegetables such as greens and broccoli, as well as milk in the evening, had a lower likelihood of dying from heart disease.

Therefore, the study showed that healthy dietary habits are associated with improved long-term survival rates in people with diabetes.

In contrast, those who consumed a significant amount of processed meat in the evening were found to have a higher likelihood of dying from heart disease.

The research team suggests that meal timing should coincide with the biological clock—a natural, internal process that governs the sleep-wake cycle and repeats every 24 hours.

The study indicates that health outcomes for people with diabetes could be improved if certain foods are consumed at different times of the day.

The research, led by Qingrao Song, was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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