Adapting meal times to improve health

A study in which researchers at ISGlobal participated, has observed that eating breakfast before 8am reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 59%.

Not only what we eat but when we do it can affect our health. Photo: Margarita Zueva forUnsplash.

There is more and more research focused on studying the association between diet, circadian rhythms and health. Because it is not only important what we eat, but when, and the use of chrononutrition could help reduce the risk of suffering from some diseases. This is shown by one of the latest studies in which the Institut de Salut Global de Barcelona (ISGlobal) participated, which suggests that eating breakfast before 8 am could help reduce the risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes.

“Our results suggest that a first meal before 8am and a last meal before 7pm could help reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes”

Manolis Kogevinas, ISGlobal

The study, which has lasted more than 7 years and was done in collaboration with a team from INSERM in France, recorded through online forms the diet of more than 100,000 participants in a French cohort during the first two years. They then related this diet to the health status of the participants monitored for the rest of the duration of the study.

The results showed that those people who had breakfast before 8am had a 59% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate breakfast after 9am. Having a late dinner (later than 10pm) also increased the risk of the disease. Other studies have shown that skipping breakfast also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Although further research is still needed to confirm this hypothesis, it seems that circadian rhythms do not only affect the incidence of this disease. A previous study by the same team determined that eating dinner before 9pm led to a lower risk of breast and prostate cancer. And in another research, they observed that morning exercise could have a protective effect against diseases such as cancer.

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