Study to investigate whether time-restricted eating can lead to weight loss and better blood sugar regulation in people with type 2 diabetes
The traditional treatment for type 2 diabetes includes lifestyle changes and weight loss, where the quantity and type of food are important factors. But when food is eaten seems to matter, too.
As part of their treatment, people living with type 2 diabetes need to change their lifestyle and eating habits. This can be a challenge, as food often plays a significant role both for the individual and in social settings. Some people feel that they have to give up part of the enjoyment of eating when the emphasis is on restrictions on what they can eat. It is fatty and sugary products, in particular, that provide enjoyment, and a high intake of these foods can cause overweight. These foodstuffs are often consumed in large quantities in the evening, which is inappropriate in terms of the natural circadian rhythm of our metabolism.
Setting an eating window
In a postdoctoral project based at the Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen (SDCC), Jonas Salling Quist MSc PhD will investigate the significance of the time of day at which food is eaten, so lifestyle adjustments in the treatment of type 2 diabetes may in future also involve watching the clock.
‘Time-restricted eating is an eating pattern in which food intake is limited to a window of, say, 10 hours per day. For the rest of the time, you fast. Previous studies have shown that time-restricted eating can lead to weight loss and improved appetite regulation and metabolism in people who are overweight and at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. We want to study the need for effective and acceptable lifestyle changes. In the project, we will involve the target group in the design phase in order to design an intervention that can be implemented and maintained in the treatment of type 2 diabetes’, explains Jonas Salling Quist, who will make two visits to foreign research centres during the project: the University of Leeds in the UK, as the guest of Professor Graham Finlayson (who is also a DDA visiting professor at SDCC); and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, USA, as the guest of Professor Satchidananda Panda.
The results of the project may be important for future recommendations on the treatment of overweight and type 2 diabetes. Participants in previous studies have said that time-restricted eating is a manageable lifestyle change that can be maintained for a protracted period, partly because it does not dictate a specific diet and because it respects individual preferences as regards food choices.
Two studies: intervention and reward
Jonas Salling Quist’s postdoc project, which has received a DKK 1.2 million grant from the Danish Diabetes Academy, is divided into two studies. One includes the above-mentioned needs assessment, a pilot study and a randomized controlled intervention study. People with type 2 diabetes, their relatives and healthcare staff will be involved in the design of the intervention study, which will examine the effects of a one-year time-restricted eating intervention on 260 people with type 2 diabetes.
‘The other study will determine food preferences and food reward in 100 people with overweight and type 2 diabetes. We will examine the extent to which their preferences and food reward differ from those of 100 healthy, normal-weight people and 100 people with overweight. Preferences and food reward will be measured by means of computer tests, with simultaneous biometric measurements of emotional response – eye movements, sweat production and facial expression – when participants are shown pictures of food that varies in taste and in fat and sugar content’, explains Jonas Salling Quist, who will receive supervision from Professor Kristine Færch of the Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen during the project.
The studies will be carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Health Promotion Department, the Clinic and the Clinical Research Department at SDCC, the Endocrinology Department at Hvidovre Hospital, the University of Leeds, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and iMotions A/S.
By Pernille Fløjstrup Andersen, Communications Officer, DDA
Jonas Salling Quist MSc PhD, born 1983
Has been awarded DKK 1.2 million by the Danish Diabetes Academy.
Postdoctoral project title: Time-restricted eating and food reward in type 2 diabetes
Research centres: Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen / University of Leeds, UK / Salk Institute for Biological Studies, California, USA
Contact: +45 2617 6064
Contact Danish Diabetes Academy
Managing Director Tore Christiansen
Phone: +45 2964 6764