March 15 (UPI) — Diabetics who eat fewer processed foods at night may live longer than those who consume more of them, a study published Tuesday by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found.
In addition, eating foods high in carbohydrates earlier in the day as opposed to at night helps boost heart health in people with diabetes, the data showed.
Those with Type 2 diabetes who ate processed foods, including meat, later in the day had an up to 74% higher risk for death from heart disease compared to people who consumed lower amounts of these foods and/or did so earlier in the day, the researchers said.
Conversely, people with Type 2 diabetes who consumed more vegetables and dairy products later in the day lowered their risk for heart disease death by 45% compared to those who ate less of these foods, according to the researchers.RELATEDStudy: Nighttime eating affects body clock, can lead to glucose intolerance
Those who ate potatoes in the morning and more whole grains in the afternoon reduced their risk for heart disease-related death by up to 50%, the data showed.
“We observed that eating potatoes in the morning, whole grains in the afternoon, greens and milk in the evening and less processed meat in the evening was associated with better long-term survival in people with diabetes,” study co-author Dr. Qingrao Song said in a press release.
“Nutritional guidelines and intervention strategies for diabetes should integrate the optimal consumption times for foods in the future,” said Song, a member of the faculty of science at Harbin Medical University in Harbin, China.RELATEDDiabetes risk higher for ‘night owls’ that are obese, study says
The findings are based on an analysis of data for more than 4,600 adults with Type 2 diabetes who responded to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a project led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that monitors health trends in the United States.
Participants were followed for a period of roughly two years, during which time 307 of them died from heart disease, the researchers said.
About 30 million people in the United States have Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by the body’s inability to process sugars in food and increases a person’s risk for heart disease, according to the CDC.RELATEDStress complicates blood sugar control for people with diabetes
Previous research has indicated that nighttime eating may lead to glucose intolerance, which can cause diabetes.
Based on the findings of this study, the time of day that people with Type 2 diabetes eat certain foods may be just as important to their well-being as portion size and calories, the Chinese researchers said.
Meal times should be in line with the biological clock, a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats every 24 hours, they said.
That is because overall health for people with Type 2 diabetes may be improved if certain foods are eaten at different times of the day, according to the researchers.
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