RESULTS from a cohort study including adults with diabetes and prediabetes, suggest eating the majority of calories before 1 p.m. reduces glucose elevations and the time spent above range. Participants also maintained their body weight during the study, ensuring the effects were independent of weight loss.
Joanne Bruno, NYU Langone Health, New York, USA, commented: “Eating the majority of one’s calories earlier in the day reduces blood sugar fluctuation as well as the time that the blood sugar is elevated, thereby improving metabolic health, and positioning early time-restricted feeding as a candidate strategy for diabetes prevention.”
The study included 10 adults with obesity and prediabetes in a metabolic ward, that were randomly assigned to two eating patterns, with calories calculated to maintain body weight. The first group ate 80% of their calories before 1 p.m., while the second consumed 50% of their calories after 4 p.m.. The eating patterns were followed for 7 days before switching to the other pattern for the next 7 days. Continuous glucose monitoring was conducted, with an oral glucose tolerance test performed at baseline and Days 7 and 14.
Results showed that participants maintained their weight during the study period, but during the time-restricted eating phase, participants had a lower mean amplitude of glycaemic excursion when compared to the usual eating pattern (2.5 mmol/L versus 2.9 mmol/L, respectively; P <0.05). Furthermore, participants also spent less time above range whilst restricting consumption to early in the day (3.1% versus 6.7%, respectively; P=0.02). Time in range were similar for both eating patterns.
Bruno concluded: “Weight loss is currently one of the mainstays of diabetes prevention and treatment in individuals with obesity and metabolic disease,” suggesting, however, that “significant weight loss and subsequent weight maintenance are difficult to achieve.” They also commented that these findings are significant, as they provide a straightforward dietary recommendation that regulates blood sugar, with the potential of preventing diabetes without requiring weight loss, calorie restriction, or carbohydrate counting.
Future research into the long-term benefits will hopefully prove early-time restricted feeding to be a means for diabetic prevention, as well as a means for regulating blood sugar levels, and reducing medication burden in individuals with Type 2 diabetes.