Why eating meals during the day is better for your health than eating at night

Only eating meals during the day could be key to lowering your risk of developing serious diseases like diabetes

Person eats pizza late at night as they work on a laptop
(Image credit: Getty)

Food is essential for fuelling our bodies. A healthy and balanced diet helps us stay energized, ensures our bodies grow and repair, and helps boost our immune system. However, having a good diet may only be half the battle. New research reveals that the time you choose to eat at can significantly impact your health.

If you work night shifts and have a rather nocturnal lifestyle then sleep is probably at the top of your priorities during the day, and quite rightly so. Sleep is extremely important for allowing our bodies to rest and repair - hopefully, you have a best mattress topper to help you sleep as comfortably as possible.

In addition to having a good sleep pattern, you should also consider creating a good eating routine. This way you can avoid putting yourself at risk of developing harmful diseases such as diabetes.

A recent study published in Science Advances discovered that eating at nighttime can increase your glucose levels, whereas eating meals during the day might be able to prevent this from happening.

The reason you want to avoid increasing your glucose levels is that greater levels of glucose puts you at an increased risk of developing diabetes.

Woman tucks into a healthy meal during the day

(Image credit: Getty)

The research team recruited 19 healthy young people to complete a 14-day controlled laboratory protocol under simulated nighttime work conditions. Dividing the group into two, one group ate overnight while the other group ate during the day.

They then analyzed the impact these meal schedules had on the participants' internal circadian rhythms. The circadian rhythm is an internal process that regulates sleep and the 24-hour cycle of other bodily functions (metabolism included).

The study discovered that the participants who ate overnight for the simulated night work saw their glucose levels increase by 6.4%. This is a contrast to those who ate during the day before the nightwork and experienced no change to their glucose levels.

Co-leader of the study Sarah L. Chellappa said, "This study reinforces the notion that when you eat matters for determining health outcomes such as blood sugar levels, which are relevant for night workers as they typically eat at night while on shift."

Eating meals only during the day will be harder for some people. For example those who work in manual labor will have a physically demanding job meaning you will want to eat a substantial meal on your break.  

But you can always try to eat a healthy, filling meal right before a night shift to increase feelings of satiety. Or ensure you pack nutritious snacks and foods if you do need to eat overnight.

If you fancy getting some healthy meal inspiration using foods that boost better health then be sure to check out our guide to the best vegan cookbooks.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.