Eating a diet with carbohydrates at dinner may help cut the risk of diabetes in people suffering from severe and morbid obesity, finds research.
According to a new research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the diet influences secretion patterns of hormones responsible for hunger and satiety, as well as hormones associated with metabolic syndrome, which in a way can help dieters persist over the long run, and reduce risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The research was carried out by research student Sigal Sofer under the auspices of Prof. (Emeritus) Zecharia Madar, at the Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition at the Hebrew University's Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Sofer randomly assigned 78 police officers to either the experimental diet (carbohydrates at dinner) or a control weight loss diet (carbohydrates throughout the day). Out of the total only 63 subjects finished the six-month program.
The researchers examined the experimental diet's effect on the secretion of three hormones: leptin, considered to be the satiety hormone, whose level in the blood is usually low during the day and high during the night; ghrelin, considered the hunger hormone, whose level in the blood is usually high during the day and low during the night; and adiponectin, considered the link between obesity, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome, whose curve is low and flat in obese people.
"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," Prof. Madar, Chief Scientist at Israel's Ministry of Education, said.
At the same time this dietary pattern led to lower hunger scores, and better anthropometric (weight, abdominal circumference and body fat), biochemical (blood sugar, blood lipids) and inflammatory outcomes compared to the control group.
"The findings lay the basis for a more appropriate dietary alternative for those people who have difficulty persisting in diets over time," said Prof. Madar.
"The next step is to understand the mechanisms that led to the results obtained," he added.
The research has been published in two continuous papers Obesity and in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases.