New research from the University of Pennsylvania has found that eating out of hours raises the level of glucose and insulin in the body, both of which are causes of type 2 diabetes. In addition, poor meal times can affect cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
The study looked at nine healthy adults who were asked to eat three meals and two snacks between 8am and 7pm for eight weeks, with a set bedtime of 11pm. The same participants were then told to switch up their eating habits, chowing down the same amount, but only between the hours of midday and 11pm for a further two months.
Not only did the group put on weight during this second period, but they also recorded higher levels of insulin, glucose and cholesterol.
“These early findings, which control for sleep, give a more comprehensive picture of the benefits of eating earlier in the same day,” said the study’s lead author Namni Goel.
“Eating later can promote a negative profile of weight, energy and hormone markers – such as higher glucose and insulin, which are implicated in diabetes and cholesterol and triglycerides, which are linked with cardiovascular problems and other health conditions.”