Going to bed early and getting up early makes a man healthy, rich, and wise. But did you know that eating earlier can also make you healthier? If not, this study is for you.
A new study by the Endocrine Society found that intermittent fasting or eating earlier is linked to lower blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance. People who started eating before 8:30 a.m. had lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance, which could reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.
“We found that people who started eating earlier in the day had lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance, whether they restricted their food intake to less than 10 hours a day or more than 13 hours a day distributed. ” said lead researcher Marriam Ali, MD, of Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.
Insulin resistance occurs when the body does not respond as well to the insulin the pancreas produces, and less glucose can enter the cells. People with insulin resistance may have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Both insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels affect a person’s metabolism, the breaking down of food into its simpler components: proteins, carbohydrates (or sugars), and fats. Metabolic disorders such as diabetes occur when these normal processes are disrupted. “With the rise in metabolic disorders like diabetes, we wanted to broaden our understanding of nutritional strategies to address this growing problem,” said Ali.
Previous studies have shown that limited-time eating, which solidifies eating to a reduced time frame per day, has consistently shown improvements in metabolic health, she noted. Her group wanted to know if previous eating affects metabolic actions.
The researchers analyzed data from 10,575 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They divided the participants into three groups, depending on the total length of time they consumed food: less than 10 hours, 10-13 hours, and more than 13 hours per day. They then created six subgroups based on the starting time of the meal duration (before or after 8:30 AM).
They analyzed this data to determine whether the length and timing of meals were related to fasting blood sugar levels and estimated insulin resistance. The fasting blood sugar level did not differ significantly between the eating interval groups. Insulin resistance was higher with shorter eating intervals, but lower in all groups with a meal start time before 8:30 a.m.
“These results suggest that timing is more related to metabolic actions than duration and supports early eating strategies,” concluded Ali.