The diet influences secretion patters of hormones responsible for hunger and satiety, as well as hormones associated with metabolic syndrome. In this way the diet can help people stay on track over the long run - and reduce risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
For the six month study, researchers randomly assigned 78 police officers to either the experimental diet (carbohydrates at dinner) or a control weight loss diet (carbohydrates throughout the day).
The researchers examined the experimental diet's effect on the secretion of three hormones: 1) leptin, a satiety hormone, whose level in the blood is usually low during the day and high during the night; 2) ghrelin, a hunger hormone, whose level in the blood is usually high during the day and low during the night and; 3) adiponectin, considered the link between obesity, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome, whose curve is low and flat in obese people.
The researchers noted 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.
The researchers found that the dietary manipulation led to changes in daylight hormonal profiles in favor of the dieters: the satiety hormone leptin's secretion curve became convex (U shaped) during daylight hours with a nadir (lowest point) in the late day. The hunger hormone ghrelin's secretion curve became concave, peaking only in the evening hours. The curve of adiponectin, considered the link between obesity, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome, was elevated.
At the same time this dietary pattern led to lower hunger scores, better body weights, abdominal circumference and body fat measures, and improved blood sugar, blood lipid, and inflammatory results compared to the control group.
The findings suggest there is an advantage in concentrating carbohydrate intake in the evening, especially for people at risk of developing diabetes or cardiovascular disease due to obesity. The next step is to understand the mechanisms that led to the results obtained.
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