Intermittent fasting has been all the rage in recent years, but a new study suggests that skipping breakfast could lead to long-term health problems.
The global investigation found that those who ate breakfast later were at increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
While the Spanish and French researchers noted that those who chose to eat breakfast before 8 am reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 59 percent.
In addition, eating a later dinner also seemed to increase the likelihood of the condition.
A new study published last week suggests that eating later or skipping them altogether could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The study appears to clash with recent research, which has pointed out that one of its hallmarks of intermittent fasting is skipping breakfast, which reduces the risk of several chronic health conditions, including diabetes.
Intermittent fasting has also been linked to lower blood sugar levels, which helps burn fat and reduce disease risk.
“We know that meal timing plays a key role in regulating circadian rhythms and glucose and lipid control, but few studies have investigated the relationship between meal timing or fasting and type 2 diabetes,” said Anna Palomar-Cros, MD, the study’s first author.
The research team tested more than 100,000 adults, 79 percent of whom were women.
It’s not clear if they had underlying risk factors for diabetes, such as age, weight, and other health conditions.
The participants recorded online what they ate and drank during a 24-hour period on three non-consecutive days, as well as when they ate each meal.
The researchers then averaged these over the first two years of follow-up and observed the participants’ health for an average of seven years.
The researchers recorded nearly 1,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes during the study. They found that the risk was 59 percent higher in the group that regularly ate breakfast after 9 a.m. compared to those who chose to eat earlier.
“Biologically, this makes sense, as skipping breakfast is known to affect glucose and lipid control, as well as insulin levels,” said Dr. Palomar-Cros.
Eating dinner after 10 p.m. also carried a higher risk, and those who ate more frequently, an average of five times a day, had a lower incidence of illness.
This could suggest that popular intermittent fasting plans, which involve skipping entire meals, i.e. breakfast, could have adverse health effects.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body either does not produce enough insulin or is resistant to insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood.
While type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction and develops early in life, type 2 diabetes develops over the course of several years from modifiable lifestyle factors such as diet and weight.
The research goes directly against other recent studies that have suggested that intermittent fasting may reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes.
In a study published last year in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and MetabolismFor example, the researchers studied 36 diabetic participants over the course of three months. They found that nearly 90 percent, including those taking insulin, were able to reduce the amount of diabetes medication they took.
Additionally, a 2017 study found that two weeks of intermittent fasting led to significant weight loss, as well as improved glucose levels.
This new study was published last week in the International Journal of Epidemiology.