A recent study indicated that consuming meals earlier in the day could assist individuals with pre-diabetes and obesity in managing their blood sugar levels.

While the research has yet to be published in a journal, it builds upon previous studies that suggested the benefits of early time-restricted feeding, a form of intermittent fasting in which individuals only eat during the first six to eight hours of the day. The study aimed to determine whether the observed improvements in cardiometabolic health and blood sugar levels were due to weight loss or the fasting itself, Insider reported.

The study, presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting ENDO 2023, involved ten participants with pre-diabetes and obesity, half of whom followed the early time-restricted feeding (eTRF) diet, consuming 80% of their calories before 1 p.m. The remaining participants followed a more traditional eating pattern, consuming 50% of their calories after 4 p.m. After a week, the groups switched diets for the second week. To ensure accurate results, the participants' weight was kept constant by providing them with food.

The findings showed that even just a week of eTRF appeared to stabilize blood glucose levels, reducing fluctuations and minimizing the duration of elevated blood glucose. This effect was independent of the participants' weight. Dr. Joanne Bruno, the lead researcher, suggested that eTRF could be a valuable strategy for individuals with pre-diabetes or obesity to maintain normal blood sugar levels and potentially prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes.

It is important to note that intermittent fasting, including eTRF, may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals under 18 years old, pregnant or breastfeeding, with a history of eating disorders, over 65 years old, or with type 2 diabetes should exercise caution or avoid it. Consulting a doctor before attempting intermittent fasting is recommended.

David Clayton, a nutrition and exercise physiology lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, emphasized the potential advantages of consuming a substantial breakfast in the morning and smaller meals throughout the day or fasting in the evening. He explained that our bodies are better equipped to utilize glucose as a fuel source earlier in the day, making it preferable to front-load calorie intake. Clayton also noted that regularly skipping breakfast has been linked to higher body mass index (BMI) values. By eating earlier, individuals can reduce their glucose intake stress, which may contribute to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes over time.

Clayton believes that adopting an earlier eating pattern can benefit the average person's health, while individuals with obesity or pre-diabetes stand to gain the most from this form of fasting. For those who eat family meals in the evening, even simple strategies such as reducing carbohydrate intake during dinner can prove beneficial.

Further research is necessary to fully elucidate the potential benefits and long-term effects of early time-restricted feeding and similar dietary approaches in managing blood sugar levels and overall health.