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This One Eating Trick Can Lower Your Diabetes Risk, Says New Study

You're going to want to set your alarm.
FACT CHECKED BY Cheyenne Buckingham

Trying to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D)? Then odds are you're already finding ways to stay active throughout the week in addition to watching the foods you eat to keep your blood sugar under control. However, new research has identified a way to lower your blood sugar levels and your insulin resistance without a trip to the gym or the health food aisle.

A new study, which was shared virtually at the Endocrine Society's yearly meeting, ENDO 2021, revealed that eating before 8:30 am can significantly lower your risk of developing T2D. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now).

"It has been well-recognized that our internal circadian clocks govern the rhythms of metabolic hormones over a 24-hour day," the study's lead researcher Marriam Ali, MD, told Eat This, Not That! in an interview. "This includes insulin, a key hormone in diabetes, for which sensitivity tends to be higher in the morning."

So basically, when you get in that early morning meal, you're taking care of your body at the time of day when insulin sensitivity is high, meaning cells are able to use blood glucose (sugar) more efficiently. The study was meant to examine the effects intermittent fasting had on risk factors for the disease. Turns out, regardless of how you eat throughout the day, getting in that early morning meal can be key to reducing your risk. As for other time-restricted eating?

"The research thus far suggests that diets like intermittent fasting do not have significant impacts on insulin resistance and improvement in diabetes," Dr. Deena Adimoolam, MD, Endocrinologist, and representative of Endocrine Society, told Eat This, Not That! "What we do know; however, is if intermittent fasting leads to significant weight loss, then there may be an improvement in insulin resistance and diabetes overall."

So, let's say these findings have convinced you to start waking up early to get in a good meal when your body needs it the most. What breakfast foods should you be eating, as far as your insulin resistance is concerned? Dr. Adimoolam suggests reaching for "foods that are high in protein—eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, whole grain oatmeal, [or] smoothies with yogurt and fruit and nut butter."

For more on how to lower your chances of developing the disease, check out these 10 Best Ways to Cut Your Diabetes Risk, According to Doctors.

Clara Olshansky
Clara Olshansky (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based writer and comic whose web content has appeared in Food & Wine, Harper’s Magazine, Men's Health, and Reductress. Read more
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