A recent study conducted by scientists from the New York University Grossman School of Medicine has found that consuming 80 per cent of daily calories before 1 pm could potentially lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The research suggests that this eating pattern, known as early time-restricted feeding (eTRF), can improve blood sugar fluctuations and reduce the duration of elevated blood sugar levels.
The study involved 10 participants who had obesity and high blood sugar levels. They were divided into two groups, with one group following the eTRF pattern and consuming 80 per cent of their calories before 1 pm, while the other group followed a normal feeding pattern, with half of their daily calories consumed after 4 pm. The participants switched feeding patterns after a week.
Throughout the study, the participants were provided with enough calories to maintain their current weight, and their blood sugar levels were continuously monitored. The analysis revealed that those who consumed the majority of their calories before 1 pm experienced a decrease in the time their blood sugar levels spent in the ‘high’ range compared to the group following the normal feeding pattern.
Importantly, the study showed that the beneficial effects of eTRF were observed regardless of weight loss. This suggests that the timing of meals plays a significant role in metabolic health, independent of weight management.
The findings of the study were presented at the Endocrine Society Annual Meeting in Chicago, highlighting the potential impact of early time-restricted feeding as a dietary strategy for diabetes prevention. With millions of people worldwide having prediabetes, this research offers a promising approach to reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In addition to adopting an eTRF eating pattern, experts recommend following a balanced diet to maintain overall health and prevent diabetes. The following guidelines are suggested:
- Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily, including fresh, frozen, dried, and canned options.
- Base meals on starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, rice, or pasta, preferably wholegrain.
- Aim for 30 grams of fiber per day, which can be achieved by consuming a combination of fruits, vegetables, whole-wheat cereal biscuits, wholemeal bread, and a baked potato with the skin on.
- Include dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) in the diet, opting for lower fat and lower sugar options.
- Consume beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat, and other proteins, with a focus on having two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily.
- Choose unsaturated oils and spreads in moderation.
- Stay hydrated by drinking 6-8 cups/glasses of water per day.
- Limit salt intake to less than 6g and saturated fat intake to 20g for women or 30g for men per day.