MONDAY, March 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Could the time you have breakfast determine your health?
Yes, suggests new research showing that eating your morning meal before 8:30 a.m. may reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
People in the study who had breakfast early had lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance than people who had breakfast later. Insulin resistance occurs when your body becomes resistant to the effects of the hormone insulin and blood sugar levels rise.
The new findings applied regardless of whether people restricted their food to less than 10 hours per day or distributed it to windows of more than 13 hours.
Such limited-time feeding is a form of intermittent fasting, which is all the rage these days due to a list of potential health benefits that range from weight loss and reduced risk of disease to longevity. People who practice time-limited eating typically eat during an eight to 12 hour window of the day and fast for the remaining 12 to 16 hours.
However, the new study suggests that it is not the length of the window but the timing of meals that is most important for diabetes risk.
“Timing is important, and it seems better sooner,” said study author Kristen Knutson, an associate professor at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. “Our ability to process the food we eat works better in the morning.”
To find out if the length of the window or the timing of meals was more important, the research divided more than 10,570 adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey into three groups based on their meal windows (less than 10 hours, 10-). 13 hours and more than 13 hours per day). Participants were further sorted by the time of day they started eating – whether before or after 8:30 a.m.
And the study found that it was time, earlier breakfast, that made the biggest difference in insulin resistance and blood sugar levels, though only one association was found.
The next step is to see if earlier windows of limited-time fasts, such as 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., promote greater benefits, Knutson said. “In fact, limited-time feeding earlier may be better than later, and the next step would be surgery to see if the feeding is postponed [even] earlier in the day has positive effects, “she said.
Knutson practices what she preaches. She wakes up around 7 a.m. every day and eats breakfast. “On days when I consider skipping breakfast, I don’t do it because of such studies,” she said.
The study didn’t look at what people ate for breakfast, but it stands to reason that healthier choices like whole grains bring even greater benefits, Knutson said.
The study will be presented this weekend at the Endocrine Society’s annual virtual meeting. Such research is deemed preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Krista Varady, professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago, studies intermittent fasting, including temporary fasting.
The new findings make sense, said Varady, who was not involved in the research. “They are better able to process glucose or blood sugar early in the morning, and that ability wears off as the day progresses,” she said.
There are benefits to time-limited feeding from weight, diabetes risk, and other illnesses. And “earlier windows may have even more advantages, such as 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. versus 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” said Varady.
But those earlier windows may not work well in many people’s lifestyles, she said. “Nobody really wants to skip dinner, so it might not be that appealing,” said Varady. “If you eat early it is probably better for you, but it is highly unlikely that people will want to close the window this early.”
If you can’t keep this type of eating, the benefits are lost, Varady said.
However, more research is needed before any final conclusion can be drawn about the best windows for temporary feeding. “We’re doing studies and waiting for this data to see if early or late-time feeding shows greater benefits,” said Varady.
Are You At Risk Of Diabetes? Take this 60-second quiz from the American Diabetes Association.
SOURCES: Kristen Knutson, PhD, Associate Professor, Center for Sleep and Circadian Medicine, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; Krista Varady, PhD, professor of nutrition, University of Illinois, Chicago; Virtual annual meeting of the Endocrine Society March 20-23, 2021