A new study conducted by researchers from the Endocrine Society looked at the benefits associated with starting meals earlier in the day. According to their findings, consumers who begin eating before 8:30 a.m. may lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“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,” said researcher Dr. Marriam Ali.
To determine what effect the timing of meals had on consumers’ disease risk, the researchers analyzed data from more than 10,500 participants enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). While other studies have looked at the benefits associated with time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting, the researchers evaluated how various eating patterns affected blood sugar and insulin resistance.
One group of participants ate their meals over the course of a 13-hour period; another group ate within 10 and 13 hours; and a third group ate all three meals within a 10-hour window. The participant groups were then broken down even further depending on what time of the day they started eating.
The researchers learned that the starting time of meals was more important to health outcomes than how long throughout the day the participants were eating. Starting meals before 8:30 a.m. was linked with the greatest health outcomes; participants who started eating earlier in the day had better insulin resistance and blood sugar levels than those who started eating later in the morning.
“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,” Dr. Ali said. “These findings suggest that timing is more strongly associated with metabolic measures than duration, and support early eating strategies.”