There are many factors that can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Some of them include ubiquitous food availability, irregular sleep-activity patterns, and frequent exposure to artificial light sources that can lead to a disrupted day-night rhythm.
In Western societies, most people spread their daily food intake over a minimum of 14 hours, likely resulting in the absence of an actual, nocturnal fast state. Restricting food intake to a predefined time window, like ≤12 h in time-restricted eating (TRE), can restore the cycle of daytime eating and prolonged fasting during the evening and night.
Studies have shown that using TRE has metabolic effects in overweight or obese individuals, such as increased lipid oxidation, decreased plasma glucose levels, and improved insulin sensitivity.
Recently, a team of researchers evaluated the use of TRE in type 2 diabetic patients. Their results appear in the journal Diabetologia.
Improved Glucose Levels
For the study, the team included a total of 14 adults with type 2 diabetes. The trial was performed in a 3-week period during which TRE (daily food intake within 10 hours) was compared with control (spreading food intake over ≥14 h). The trial was a crossover in design.
The team found that time-restricted eating decreased both 24 h and fasting glucose levels, and resulted in an increased time spent in normoglycemia. They didn’t see any changes in hepatic glycogen and insulin sensitivity between both groups.
According to the study results, it appears that the main way by which TRE can be an important strategy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is via a decrease in glucose levels, maintaining normal glucose levels for most of the day, and not by improving insulin sensitivity.
TRE can be used as a strategy to improve type 2 diabetes glucose levels in most patients without major side effects as compared with most medication interventions.
Andriessen, C., Fealy, C.E., Veelen, A. et al. Three weeks of time-restricted eating improves glucose homeostasis in adults with type 2 diabetes but does not improve insulin sensitivity: a randomised crossover trial. Diabetologia (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-022-05752-z
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