Avoid eating at night or risk getting type 2 diabetes – study

Diabetes UK show how to test feet for diabetic feet sensitivity

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Before diabetes, people may experience glucose intolerance. This is when the levels of sugar in the blood are high but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Left untreated, glucose intolerance — known as prediabetes – can quickly turn into fully fledged type 2 diabetes. But what causes glucose intolerance? Eating at night might be a major cause, suggests research.

Glucose intolerance is an early warning sign that your body is no longer able to absorb sugar from the bloodstream into cells.

If it progresses to type 2 diabetes, there is a risk of serious conditions such as stroke and heart disease.

A study published in the journal Science Advances found those night shift workers who ate at night suffered from glucose intolerance, while those who only ate in the day didn’t.

Researchers spotted that the workers were burdened by significant “disruption” to their body’s circadian rhythms, otherwise known as body clocks.

The central circadian clock is controlled in your brain and passes messages to your body to help regulate its activity — such as digesting sugar — over 24 hours. It does this by setting the timing for your peripheral circadian rhythms, which are organ specific.

However, these peripheral circadian rhythms can be interfered with separately by different factors. The availability of food, for example, can tamper with the circadian rhythm in digestive organs.

In the study, researchers split 19 healthy night shift workers into two groups. One group ate on their night shift while others ate during the daytime.

The second group’s schedule aligned roughly with the natural schedule set out by the central circadian rhythm.

Participants who ate at night had increased blood glucose levels, while those who ate only at daytime had no changes – implying that late meal times were responsible for glucose intolerance.

One of the study authors, Frank A.J.L. Scheer, said in a press release: “Of the participants studied, those with the biggest disruption of their circadian system … showed the largest impairment of glucose tolerance.”

Eating at night also reduced the function of pancreatic beta-cells. The researchers said this also impacted the body’s processing of sugar.

Beta cells create insulin, the main hormone that processes sugar.

Sheer added: “These results indicate that meal timing was primarily responsible for the reported effects on glucose tolerance and beta-cell function, possibly due to the misalignment of central and peripheral ‘clocks’ throughout the body.”

Other studies in the past have supported the link between blood-sugar level issues and eating at night.

An observational study found that people who sleep during the daytime and eat in the evening have a 60 percent higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Although not everyone works night shifts, the researchers suggest that people who experience jet lag or stay up late on weekends and eat while up could be affected.

Symptoms of prediabetes

The symptoms of prediabetes include needing to go to the toilet more often, feeling more tired, and losing weight without trying, explains Diabetes UK.

You may feel tired because your body doesn’t get enough glucose in your cells for energy.

Genital itching and feeling extremely thirsty are also signs of prediabetes.

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