Meals during the day reduce health risks related to night shifts - study

In the end, eating at night gave levels of glucose a boost - which is a risk factor for diabetes.

An informal meal is enhanced by a tumbler of vino (photo credit: GOLAN HEIGHTS WINERY)
An informal meal is enhanced by a tumbler of vino
(photo credit: GOLAN HEIGHTS WINERY)

Eating during the night can reportedly increase levels of glucose while consuming food during the day prevents higher glucose levels for those who work night hours, according to a trial supported by the National Institute of Health.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, could lead to interventions that could improve the health of night shift workers, the study's authors stated.

Glucose is the main type of sugar in the blood and provides the body's cells with energy.

Nineteen participants, comprised of seven women and twelve men, were used for this study. All were relatively healthy and young. They underwent a 14-day laboratory protocol involving night shifts with one of two meal schedules, eating a similar meal plan either during the day or night.

In the end, eating at night gave levels of glucose a boost - which is a risk factor for diabetes, while eating during the day had the opposite effect. Average levels of glucose for those eating at night were higher by 6.4%.

A nighttime view of Tel Aviv from the municipality building (credit: TEL AVIV-JAFFA MUNICIPALITY)A nighttime view of Tel Aviv from the municipality building (credit: TEL AVIV-JAFFA MUNICIPALITY)

The researchers involved in this study stated that eating at night and its effects on glucose levels, especially while working, are due to mistiming of the central circadian clock in regards to the fasting and eating cycles, as they too provide a role in increasing glucose levels.

They also said that the study is further supported by the idea that eating during the day on glucose levels while doing night shifts is due to better alignment between the central and peripheral clocks.

Researchers also stated that more time is needed in order to adapt these findings into an effective meal timing intervention for night shift workers.