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Meal timing has been a popular, and at times controversial, topic of interest in nutrition. Despite much speculation over the years as to potential advantages to specific meal timing or meal frequencies, for many outcomes there seems to be little pragmatically meaningful difference. For example, when accounting for calorie and macronutrient intake, there is little to no effect of meal timing on body composition, blood pressure, and energy expenditure.
However, just because there is little evidence for the importance of meal timing in relation to those outcomes, this should not be interpreted to mean there is no impact of meal timing on all health outcomes.
One area where meal timing may be an important factor is in relation to glucose tolerance and glycaemic control. For example, it has been consistently shown that eating at ‘biological night’ leads to worse postprandial glucose responses. And this could be particularly important for those with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Some of the most influential work in this area has been done by Marta Garaulet’s lab at the University of Murcia. One of the central aspects they have published on has been the interaction between food timing and melatonin levels, and how this in turn affects glucose tolerance and cardiometabolic markers.
In this episode, Danny and Alan discuss the topic of meal timing and glucose tolerance, using a recent study from Garaulet et al. to highlight some important concepts.
- Chrononutrition & Glucose
- Dim-light Melatonin Onset (DLMO)
- Glucose Tolerance & Circadian Variation
- Melatonin & The Timing Model
- MTNR1B Gene
- Results: Glucose and Insulin
- Results: Interaction With Melatonin
- Further Reading:
- Garaulet et al., 2022 – Interplay of Dinner Timing and MTNR1B Type 2 Diabetes Risk Variant on Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Secretion: A Randomized Crossover Trial
- Vujović et al., 2022 – Late isocaloric eating increases hunger, decreases energy expenditure, and modifies metabolic pathways in adults with overweight and obesity
- How Does Meal Timing Impact My Blood Sugar?
- Chrononutrition: Why Meal Timing, Calorie Distribution & Feeding Windows Really Do Matter
- Flanagan et al., 2021 – Chrono-nutrition: From molecular and neuronal mechanisms to human epidemiology and timed feeding patterns
- Related Episodes:
Detailed Study Notes