Eating breakfast late increases risk of developing type 2 diabetes by two thirds

Researchers from Spain’s Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) found individuals who consumed breakfast after 9am were 59 percent more likely to develop the condition compared to those who finished breakfast by 8am.

The study, which analysed data from more than 100,000 people in France over a span of seven years, also revealed eating dinner after 10pm further increased the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The Spanish team highlighted the importance of not only considering what we eat but also when we eat it in order to reduce the risk of diabetes.

Dr Anna Palomar-Cros, researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and first author of the study said: “Biologically, this makes sense, as skipping breakfast is known to affect glucose and lipid control, as well as insulin levels.

“This is consistent with two meta-analyses that conclude that skipping breakfast increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

“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.”

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Type 2 diabetes is associated with various modifiable risk factors, including an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and smoking. To further explore the impact of meal timing on diabetes risk, the research team collaborated with the French NutriNet-Santé cohort and studied a group of 103,312 adults, with 79 percent of them being women.

Participants were asked to record their dietary intake and meal timings over a 24-hour period on three non-consecutive days. The team then analysed the data over a seven-year period and identified 963 new cases of type 2 diabetes.

The results showed individuals who regularly consumed breakfast after 9am had a significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who had breakfast before 8am.

However, the study also revealed prolonged fasting can be beneficial if individuals have breakfast before 8am and an early dinner.

Professor Manolis Kogevinas, a co-author of the study, said: “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 study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

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