Researchers may have found a new way to reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes. According to a study recently presented by the Northwestern University in Chicago, people who start eating before 8:30 AM had lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance. These are two risk factors that could help to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
When the body doesn’t respond well to the insulin that the pancreas is producing, insulin resistance can occur, and glucose is less able to enter the cells. People who experience this may be at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels affect metabolism, which breaks down the food into proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. When these normal processes become disrupted, metabolic disorders such as diabetes can occur.
Lead researcher Marriam Ali, M.D., said, “With a rise in metabolic disorders such as diabetes, we wanted to expand our understanding of nutritional strategies to aid in addressing this growing concern.”
Previous research has found that time-restricted eating has consistently demonstrated improvement in metabolic health. Ali and the team set out to test whether the time of day of eating affected metabolic measures.
For the study, data from 10,575 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed. Participants were divided into three groups depending on the total duration of food intake. This included less than 10 hours, 10-13 hours, and more than 13 hours per day. Six subgroups were also created based on eating duration start time—before or after 8:30 AM.
Researchers found that fasting blood sugar levels did not differ significantly among eating interval groups. Insulin resistance was higher with shorter eating interval duration but lower across all groups with an eating start time before 8:30 AM.
The study’s conclusion suggests that timing is strongly associated with metabolic measures. Researchers support early eating strategies for the risk reduction of type 2 diabetes and believe physicians should discuss these techniques with at-risk patients.