CHICAGO — When is the best time to have breakfast every morning? According to a new study, you shouldn’t wait too long. That’s because eating breakfast before 8:30 a.m could reduce one’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, researchers say.
The study by Northwestern University researchers shows that people who have eaten before 8.30 a.m. had lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance. The finding won’t be welcome news to those who follow intermittent fasting, a popular dieting strategy that typically requires one to wait until about 10 a.m. to eat. Instead, enjoying your first snack of the day early on may be better for you, regardless of what time you stop eating.
“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 ten hours a day or their food intake was spread over more than 13 hours daily,” lead study author Dr Marriam Ali says in a statement. “These findings suggest that timing is more strongly associated with metabolic measures than duration, and support early eating strategies.”
Insulin resistance happens when the body does not respond as well to insulin produced by the pancreas, and glucose is less able to enter the cells. People with insulin resistance might be at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Both insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels affect a person’s metabolism, or the breaking down of food to proteins, carbohydrates or sugars, and fats.
People develop disorders such as diabetes when these normal processes are disrupted.
“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,” says Dr. Ali. “Previous studies have found that time-restricted eating, which consolidates eating to a shortened time frame each day, has consistently demonstrated improvement in metabolic health.”
The study uses data from 10,575 adults who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They split participants into three groups depending on their food eating habits: those who only ate during a window of less than ten hours (intermittent fasting), ten to 13 hours, or more than 13 hours per day.
They then created six subgroups based on when people started to eat – before or after 8.30 a.m. Results showed fasting blood sugar levels did not differ much among the different groups.
Insulin resistance was higher with shorter eating interval duration, but lower across all groups with an eating start time before 8.30 a.m.
The findings were presented virtually at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting.
SWNS writer Laura Sharman contributed to this report.