Eating after 11pm is associated with a higher risk of mortality

Eating after 11pm is associated with a higher risk of mortality


Eating after 11pm is associated with a higher risk of mortality from all causes and almost double from diabetes. A problem that involves night workers and shift workers more. On the occasion of World Sleep Day, which is celebrated on 15 March each year, the Italian Society of Diabetology recalls the importance of the relationship between sleep of the right length and quality and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

I study

A very recent study appearing in Nutrition & Diabetes reminds us of this [1]which examined the data of 41 thousand people from the NANHES database, selecting information on time, frequency and quality of food consumed at night. Objective: To determine whether eating at night is associated with diabetes and mortality. “The timing of meals is more important than you might think,” explains the professor Angelo Avogaro, President of SID “consuming nighttime meals with a high energy load exposes you to greater risks. Therefore the choice of foods is a strategy to counteract the risks of nighttime eating, whether out of habit or for professional needs as happens in night workers or shift workers”. In Italy, shift workers make up approximately 18% of the total.

A risk for those with diabetes

Research has found a more than double increased risk of mortality from diabetes in those who dine between 11pm and midnight. In the high-calorie intensity group, the risk of general mortality increased by 21%, while that from diabetes was almost double.

The human body has its own clock and it is located in the brain. This clock, a central master clock, synchronizes all the functions of the organism, depressing or activating others depending on the hours of the day. The biological clock is influenced, for example, by light – The master clock reacts mainly to light signals (but cannot distinguish between natural and artificial light).

The light is hit by specific receptors present in the retina. Among peripheral signals, melatonin is one of the best known. Fat-soluble hormone produced by the epiphysis increases at night with a peak between 2 and 4 in the morning, influencing sleep, temperature and appetite. The modern rhythms of life, already with the introduction of electric light which has lengthened the periods of wakefulness at night, interfere with the biological clock which is regulated on natural rhythms.

Night shift workers

Night shift workers have a higher body mass index than daytime workers – “Night work causes an alteration of numerous metabolic profiles with an increase in triglycerides, a decrease in ‘good’ cholesterol, hyperglycemia and an increase in glycated hemoglobin” continues Avogaro. “Values ​​that return to normal when the day/night shift is suspended. In some studies it has been seen how night workers, with the same total calories, tend to eat less healthy and ultra-processed foods, such as junk food which increase the risk of obesity and diabetes”.


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