The Big Number: Eating breakfast before 8:30 a.m. may reduce diabetes risk

Eating breakfast earlier in the day — specifically, starting before 8:30 a.m. — appears to lower the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a report presented recently at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting. Looking at eight years of national data on 10,575 adults, researchers found that people who began eating earlier than 8:30 a.m. tended to have lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance than people whose daily food intake started later. Diabetes develops when a person’s level of blood sugar (also called blood glucose) is too high. Your body creates glucose from the food you eat, and it creates the hormone insulin to help move the glucose from your blood into your cells, which use it for energy. If the body does not make enough insulin or does not use it well (known as insulin resistance), a too-high blood sugar level develops, leading to Type 2 diabetes. More than 34 million Americans have diabetes, including more than 7 million who have not been diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To prevent diabetes, health experts often encourage losing weight (and keeping it off), getting regular exercise and not smoking, as well as eating healthily. For some, this has included a nutritional strategy known as time-restricted eating, which shortens the time span allotted for eating each day. But the new research found that outcomes for blood sugar levels and insulin resistance were better when people started eating before 8:30 a.m., regardless of their time span for eating.

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