Carbs At Night May Reduce Risk Of Diabetes And Cardiovascular Disease

Connie K. Ho for — Your Universe Online

A new study found that that limiting consumption of carbs to dinner meals could help decrease the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease while boosting satiety.

The research was conducted by a group of investigators from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The scientists were interested in studying an experimental diet where carbohydrates were mostly consumed during dinnertime. In particular, they wanted to see how this study could impact individuals who were severely or morbidly obese. People who are considered obese have weights that are greater than what is thought to be a healthy weight, and obesity is linked to an elevated risk of particular diseases and other health issues. For adults, obesity ranges are calculated with the body mass index (BMI) that factors in height and weight of individuals.

“The idea came about from studies on Muslims during Ramadan, when they fast during the day and eat high-carbohydrate meals in the evening, that showed the secretion curve of leptin was changed,” noted Zecharia Madar, a professor at the Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in a prepared statement.

In the study, the researchers randomly placed 78 police officers in either an experimental group where they consumed carbohydrates only at dinnertime or in a controlled weight loss group where carbohydrates were consumed throughout the day. 63 participants successfully completed the program, which spanned over a six-month period. During the study, the scientists tracked the impact of the experimental diet on the hormones leptin, ghrelin, and adiponectin. Leptin is a satiety hormone that has high levels in the blood at night, but low levels in the day. On the other hand, ghrelin is the hunger hormone and has high levels during the day but low levels during the night. Lastly, adiponectin is found to be related to insulin resistance, the metabolic syndrome, and obesity; the curve of this hormone is especially low and flat in people considered obese.

Based on the results of the study, the researchers believe that there are benefits to consuming carbohydrates only during evening meals. These benefits can particularly be helpful for people who are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes. The findings of the study were published in the journal Obesity as well as Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases.

“The findings lay the basis for a more appropriate dietary alternative for those people who have difficulty persisting in diets over time,” explained Madar in the statement. “The next step is to understand the mechanisms that led to the results obtained.”

The study comes at a particular crucial time, as the rates of obesity are rising throughout the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one-third of adults in the United States are considered obese. As well, obesity is pricey for all those involved—in 2008, medical costs related to obesity were predicted to be $147 billion. In order to combat this issue, the CDC recommends that people eat more fruits and vegetables, consume less foods that are high in fat and sugar, drink more water and limit sugary drinks, as well as participate in physical activities like a 10-minute walk, three times a day, five days of the week.

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