Eating Breakfast Early Cuts the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

The early bird gets the worm, as they say. According to recent research, individuals who have breakfast after 9 am have a 59% higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes than those who do so before 8 am.

More than 100,000 individuals in a French cohort were tracked for the study, which was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The findings demonstrate that altering when and what we eat can lower our risk of developing diabetes.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes that may be changed include a poor diet, inactivity, and smoking. But another element — the time we eat — might be necessary in reducing the condition as well.

We know that meal timing plays a key role in regulating circadian rhythms and glucose and lipid control, but few studies have investigated the relationship between meal timing or fasting and type 2 diabetes.

- ISGlobal researcher and first author Anna Palomar-Cros

In this study, 103,312 people from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort were included, and a team from ISGlobal collaborated with a team from INSERM to examine the relationship between meal frequency and time and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

Participants recorded their food and beverage intake and the times of their meals online for three days that weren't consecutive.

The research team averaged the dietary records for the first two years of follow-up to measure the participants' health over an average of seven years after the study ended.

During the trial, there were 963 new instances of type 2 diabetes. Those who routinely ate breakfast after 9 am had a greater chance of acquiring the condition.

According to Palomar-Cross, this makes sense scientifically because missing breakfast is known to impact insulin levels and glucose and lipid regulation.

She goes on to say that this aligns with the findings of two meta-analyses showing that missing breakfast raises the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study team discovered that eating supper after 10 pm appeared to raise the risk, although eating more often was linked to a lower incidence of illness. On the other hand, extended fasting is only advantageous if it includes an early breakfast and dinner.

ISGlobal researcher and co-author of the study Manolis Kogevinas concludes: "Our results suggest that a first meal before 8 am and a last meal before 7 pm may help reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes."

The ISGlobal team had already shown a link between eating supper earlier and decreased breast or prostate cancer risk. These findings strengthen the use of chrono-nutrition as a whole.

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