Special Issue "Meal Timing to Improve Human Health"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutrition and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Marta Garaulet
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physiology, University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain
Interests: nutrigenetics, chronobiology, including food timing and obesity
Prof. Frank A.J.L. Scheer
Website
Guest Editor
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Interests: circadian rhythms; metabolism; cardiovascular; diabetes
Dr. Hassan S. Dashti
Website
Guest Editor
Center for Genomic Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA
Interests: nutrition; genetics; sleep; chronobiology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Whereas nutrition studies have primarily focused on “what” we eat, i.e., energy intake and macronutrient composition, currently, meal timing is being considered as a novel dimension of diet that may influence obesity, diabetes, and other cardiometabolic diseases. In 2013, a weight loss trial based on the Mediterranean diet conducted in a Spanish population showed that food timing was a predictive factor of weight loss success. Concurrently, a similar weight loss study with a 12-week follow-up showed that individuals consuming higher energy for dinner, compared to breakfast, lost less weight, and had worse glucose tolerance. These two studies, along with other complimentary animal studies, opened a new line of research-based on food timing and its impact on obesity, weight loss, and glucose tolerance.

New controlled laboratory studies are necessary to explain the mechanisms involved in the different response of late versus early eating to treatment.

The genetic makeup of people may also be involved. Former studies showed that only those who present a genetic variant in the Perilipin gene (PLIN1) were sensitive to food timing’s effect on weight loss. Furthermore, based on classical twin studies, genetics appear to influence a significant proportion of the variability in food timing, particularly breakfast. Thus, interventions related to food timing may be more effective when targeting afternoon/evening traits, such as lunch or dinner times, and when targetting individuals based on genotype.

This Special Issue welcomes original research and reviews of literature on the topic of “Meal Timing to improve Human Health” at mechanistic, observational, and epidemiological levels, under the following topics:

  • Human dietary intervention studies that provide evidence for the effects of meal timing on human health;
  • Studies of human genotypes metabolic phenotypes and/or across age to help to explain variation the effect of meal timing on obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular risk;
  • Studies that provide mechanistic insights into the inter-relationship between meal timing, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular risk, including studies performed in vitro or in animal models;
  • Observational studies on the association between meal timing and cardiometabolic diseases.

“Meal timing” includes the following concepts:

  • Clock and biological timing of food intake;
  • Food timing within the (circadian) day;
  • Intake frequency;
  • Intake distribution across the day;
  • Food intake window duration (and/or fasting duration);
  • Food regularity;
  • Intermittent fasting.

Prof. Marta Garaulet
Prof. Frank A.J.L. Scheer
Dr. Hassan S. Dashti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Food timing
  • Meal timing
  • Food frequency
  • Circadian
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiovascular risk

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Energy, Nutrient and Food Intakes of Male Shift Workers Vary According to the Schedule Type but Not the Number of Nights Worked
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 919; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040919 (registering DOI) - 27 Mar 2020
Abstract
Shift work is associated with increased risk of chronic diseases due to circadian rhythm disruptions and behavioral changes such as in eating habits. Impact of type of shifts and number of night shifts on energy, nutrient and food intake is as yet unknown. [...] Read more.
Shift work is associated with increased risk of chronic diseases due to circadian rhythm disruptions and behavioral changes such as in eating habits. Impact of type of shifts and number of night shifts on energy, nutrient and food intake is as yet unknown. Our goal was to analyze shift workers’ dietary intake, eating behavior and eating structure, with respect to frequency of nights worked in a given week and seven schedule types. Eating habits and dietary intakes of 65 male shift workers were analyzed in three steps based on 365 24-h food records: (1) according to the number of nights, (2) in a pooled analysis according to schedule type, and (3) in search of an interaction of the schedule and the timing of intake. Mean nutrient and food group intake during the study period did not depend on the number of nights worked. Amount and distribution of energy intake as well as quality of food, in terms of nutrient and food groups, differed depending on the type of schedule, split night shifts and recovery day (day after night shift) being the most impacted. Shift workers’ qualitative and quantitative dietary intakes varied between different schedules, indicating the need for tailored preventive interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meal Timing to Improve Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Timing of Acute and Consecutive Catechin Ingestion on Postprandial Glucose Metabolism in Mice and Humans
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020565 - 21 Feb 2020
Abstract
We examined the effects of the timing of acute and consecutive epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and catechin-rich green tea ingestion on postprandial glucose in mice and human adults. In mouse experiments, we compared the effects of EGCG administration early (morning) and late (evening) in [...] Read more.
We examined the effects of the timing of acute and consecutive epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and catechin-rich green tea ingestion on postprandial glucose in mice and human adults. In mouse experiments, we compared the effects of EGCG administration early (morning) and late (evening) in the active period on postprandial glucose. In human experiments, participants were randomly assigned to the morning-placebo (MP, n = 10), morning-green tea (MGT, n = 10), evening-placebo (EP, n = 9), and evening-green tea (EGT, n = 9) groups, and consumed either catechin-rich green tea or a placebo beverage for 1 week. At baseline and after 1 week, participants consumed their designated beverages with breakfast (MP and MGT) or supper (EP and EGT). Venous blood samples were collected in the fasted state and 30, 60, 120, and 180 min after each meal. Consecutive administration of EGCG in the evening, but not in the morning, reduced postprandial glucose at 30 (p = 0.006) and 60 (p = 0.037) min in the evening trials in mice. In humans, ingestion of catechin-rich green tea in the evening decreased postprandial glucose (three-factor analysis of variance, p < 0.05). Thus, catechin intake in the evening more effectively suppressed elevation of postprandial glucose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meal Timing to Improve Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Chrono-Nutrition and Diet Quality in Adolescents with Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 539; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020539 - 19 Feb 2020
Abstract
Background: Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSPD), characterized by delayed sleep-onset and problems with awakening in the morning, is mostly prevalent in adolescents. Several studies have suggested chrono-nutrition could present a possible modifiable risk factor for DSPD. Objective: To describe differences in chrono-nutrition [...] Read more.
Background: Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSPD), characterized by delayed sleep-onset and problems with awakening in the morning, is mostly prevalent in adolescents. Several studies have suggested chrono-nutrition could present a possible modifiable risk factor for DSPD. Objective: To describe differences in chrono-nutrition and diet quality in adolescents with DSPD compared to age-related controls. Methods: Chrono-nutrition and diet quality of 46 adolescents with DSPD, aged 13–20 years, and 43 controls were assessed via questionnaires. Diet quality included the Dutch Healthy Diet index (DHD-index) and Eating Choices Index (ECI). Results were analysed using logistic regression and Spearman’s partial correlation. Results: Compared with controls, DSPD patients consumed their first food of the day significantly later on weekdays (+32 ± 12 min, p = 0.010) and weekends (+25 ± 8 min, p = 0.005). They consumed their dinner more regularly (80.4% vs. 48.8%, p = 0.002) and consumed morning-snacks less frequently (3.0 ± 2.1 days vs. 4.2 ± 1.7 days, p = 0.006). No differences in clock times of breakfast, lunch, or dinner were found. Moreover, no significant differences in overall diet quality were observed. Conclusion: This descriptive study showed chrono-nutritional differences between adolescents with and without DPSD. Further studies are needed to explore features of chrono-nutrition as a possible treatment of DPSD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meal Timing to Improve Human Health)
Open AccessArticle
A Delayed Morning and Earlier Evening Time-Restricted Feeding Protocol for Improving Glycemic Control and Dietary Adherence in Men with Overweight/Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020505 - 17 Feb 2020
Abstract
We determined the effects of time-restricted feeding (TRF; 8 h/d) versus extended feeding (EXF; 15 h/d) on 24-h and postprandial metabolism and subjective opinions of TRF in men with overweight/obesity. In a randomized crossover design, 11 sedentary males (age 38 ± 5 y; [...] Read more.
We determined the effects of time-restricted feeding (TRF; 8 h/d) versus extended feeding (EXF; 15 h/d) on 24-h and postprandial metabolism and subjective opinions of TRF in men with overweight/obesity. In a randomized crossover design, 11 sedentary males (age 38 ± 5 y; BMI: 32.2 ± 2.0 kg/m2) completed two isoenergetic diet protocols for 5 days, consuming meals at 1000, 1300 and 1700 h (TRF) or 0700, 1400 and 2100 h (EXF). On Day 5, participants remained in the laboratory for 24 h, and blood samples were collected at hourly (0700–2300 h) then 2-hourly (2300–0700 h) intervals for concentrations of glucose, insulin and appetite/incretin hormones. Structured qualitative interviews were conducted following completion of both dietary conditions and investigated thematically. Total 24-h area under the curve (AUCtotal) [glucose] tended to be lower for TRF versus EXF (−5.5 ± 9.0 mmol/L/h, p = 0.09). Nocturnal glucose AUC was lower in TRF (−4.2 ± 5.8 mmol/L/h, p = 0.04), with no difference in waking glucose AUC or AUCtotal for [insulin]. Attitudes towards TRF were positive with improved feelings of well-being. Barriers to TRF were work schedules, family commitments and social events. Compared to extended feeding, short-term TRF improved nocturnal glycemic control and was positively perceived in men with overweight/obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meal Timing to Improve Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Association between Timing of Energy Intake and Insulin Sensitivity: A Cross-Sectional Study
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 503; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020503 - 16 Feb 2020
Abstract
In addition to the caloric and macronutrient composition of meals, timing of energy consumption may be important for optimal glucose metabolism. Our goal was to examine whether the habitual timing of energy intake was associated with insulin sensitivity in healthy volunteers. Volunteers without [...] Read more.
In addition to the caloric and macronutrient composition of meals, timing of energy consumption may be important for optimal glucose metabolism. Our goal was to examine whether the habitual timing of energy intake was associated with insulin sensitivity in healthy volunteers. Volunteers without diabetes aged 21–50 years completed a 3-day food diary and underwent an oral glucose tolerance test to estimate insulin sensitivity (n = 44). From the food diary, we calculated the proportions of the total energy and macronutrients consumed in the morning and evening, and the clock time at which 25%, 50% and 75% of total energy was consumed. A greater proportion of energy intake in the morning was significantly associated with higher insulin sensitivity estimated by Matsuda Index (B = 2.8 per 10%; 95%CI: 0.3, 5.2). The time at which 25% of energy was consumed was associated with insulin sensitivity estimated by Matsuda Index (B = −1.6 per hour; 95%CI: −3.0, −0.3) and QUICKI (B = −1.4 per hour, 95%CI: −2.8, −0.1). The timing of carbohydrate consumption demonstrated similar associations. Greater energy intake earlier in the day was associated with higher insulin sensitivity in individuals without diabetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meal Timing to Improve Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Saliva Samples as A Tool to Study the Effect of Meal Timing on Metabolic And Inflammatory Biomarkers
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020340 - 28 Jan 2020
Abstract
Meal timing affects metabolic regulation in humans. Most studies use blood samples for their investigations. Saliva, although easily available and non-invasive, seems to be rarely used for chrononutritional studies. In this pilot study, we tested if saliva samples could be used to study [...] Read more.
Meal timing affects metabolic regulation in humans. Most studies use blood samples for their investigations. Saliva, although easily available and non-invasive, seems to be rarely used for chrononutritional studies. In this pilot study, we tested if saliva samples could be used to study the effect of timing of carbohydrate and fat intake on metabolic rhythms. In this cross-over trial, 29 nonobese men were randomized to two isocaloric 4-week diets: (1) carbohydrate-rich meals until 13:30 and high-fat meals between 16:30 and 22:00 or (2) the inverse order of meals. Stimulated saliva samples were collected every 4 h for 24 h at the end of each intervention, and levels of hormones and inflammatory biomarkers were assessed in saliva and blood. Cortisol, melatonin, resistin, adiponectin, interleukin-6 and MCP-1 demonstrated distinct diurnal variations, mirroring daytime reports in blood and showing significant correlations with blood levels. The rhythm patterns were similar for both diets, indicating that timing of carbohydrate and fat intake has a minimal effect on metabolic and inflammatory biomarkers in saliva. Our study revealed that saliva is a promising tool for the non-invasive assessment of metabolic rhythms in chrononutritional studies, but standardisation of sample collection is needed in out-of-lab studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meal Timing to Improve Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Eating Jet Lag: A Marker of the Variability in Meal Timing and Its Association with Body Mass Index
Nutrients 2019, 11(12), 2980; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11122980 - 06 Dec 2019
Abstract
The timing of food intake has been associated with obesity and adverse metabolic outcomes, independently of the amount or content of food intake and activity level. However, the impact of the variability in the timing of food intake between weekends and weekdays on [...] Read more.
The timing of food intake has been associated with obesity and adverse metabolic outcomes, independently of the amount or content of food intake and activity level. However, the impact of the variability in the timing of food intake between weekends and weekdays on BMI (body mass index) remains unexplored. To address that, we propose to study a marker of the variability of meal timing on weekends versus weekdays (denominated as ‘eating jet lag’) that could be associated with increments in BMI. This cross-sectional study included 1106 subjects (aged 18–25 years). Linear regression models were used to examine the associations of eating jet lag with BMI and circadian related variables (including chronotype, eating duration, sleep duration, and social jet lag). Subsequently, a hierarchical multivariate regression analysis was conducted to determine whether the association of eating jet lag with BMI was independent of potentially confounding variables (e.g., chronotype and social jet lag). Moreover, restricted cubic splines were calculated to study the shape of the association between eating jet lag and BMI. Our results revealed a positive association between eating jet lag and BMI (p = 0.008), which was independent of the chronotype and social jet lag. Further analysis revealed the threshold of eating jet lag was of 3.5 h or more, from which the BMI could significantly increase. These results provided evidence of the suitability of the eating jet lag, as a marker of the variability in meal timing between weekends and weekdays, for the study of the influence of meal timing on obesity. In a long run, the reduction of the variability between meal timing on weekends versus weekdays could be included as part of food timing guidelines for the prevention of obesity among general population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meal Timing to Improve Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Associations of Meal Timing and Frequency with Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome among Korean Adults
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2437; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102437 - 13 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Emerging studies indicate that meal timing is linked to cardiometabolic risks by deterioration of circadian rhythms, however limited evidence is available in humans. This large-scale cross-sectional study explored the associations of meal timing and frequency with obesity and metabolic syndrome among Korean adults. [...] Read more.
Emerging studies indicate that meal timing is linked to cardiometabolic risks by deterioration of circadian rhythms, however limited evidence is available in humans. This large-scale cross-sectional study explored the associations of meal timing and frequency with obesity and metabolic syndrome among Korean adults. Meal timing was defined as nightly fasting duration and morning, evening, and night eating, and meal frequency was estimated as the number of daily eating episodes using a single-day 24-hour dietary recall method. Meal frequency was inversely associated with prevalence of abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides in men only. Independent of the nightly fasting duration and eating episodes, morning eating was associated with a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome (odds ratio (OR), 0.73; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.57–0.93 for men and OR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.54–0.89 for women) than no morning eating, whereas night eating was associated with a 48% higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome (OR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.15–1.90) than no night eating in men only. Longer fasting duration and less sleep were associated with obesity and metabolic syndrome. These findings suggest that overall eating patterns, including energy distribution across the day, eating frequency, and sleep duration, rather than fasting duration alone, are related to cardiometabolic risks in free-living Korean adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meal Timing to Improve Human Health)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Effect of Timing of Exercise and Eating on Postprandial Response in Adults: A Systematic Review
Nutrients 2020, 12(1), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010221 - 15 Jan 2020
Abstract
Type 2 diabetes is a major public health concern. Management of this condition has focused on behavior modification through diet and exercise interventions. A growing body of evidence has focused on temporality of dietary intake and exercise and potential effects on health. This [...] Read more.
Type 2 diabetes is a major public health concern. Management of this condition has focused on behavior modification through diet and exercise interventions. A growing body of evidence has focused on temporality of dietary intake and exercise and potential effects on health. This review summarizes current literature that investigates the question “how does the timing of exercise relative to eating throughout the day effect postprandial response in adults?” Databases PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus were searched between March–May 2019. Experimental studies conducted in healthy adults (≥18 y) and those with type 2 diabetes were included. Full texts were examined by at least two independent reviewers. Twenty studies with a total of 352 participants met the inclusion criteria. The primary finding supports that exercise performed post-meal regardless of time of day had a beneficial impact on postprandial glycemia. There was insufficient evidence regarding whether timing of exercise performed pre- vs. post-meal or vice versa in a day is related to improved postprandial glycemic response due to inherent differences between studies. Future studies focusing on the investigation of timing and occurrence of meal intake and exercise throughout the day are needed to inform whether there is, and what is, an optimal time for these behaviors regarding long-term health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meal Timing to Improve Human Health)
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