Frequency and Circadian Timing of Eating May Influence Biomarkers of Inflammation and Insulin Resistance Associated with Breast Cancer Risk.
- Author(s): Marinac, Catherine R
- Sears, Dorothy D
- Natarajan, Loki
- Gallo, Linda C
- Breen, Caitlin I
- Patterson, Ruth E
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0136240
Emerging evidence suggests that there is interplay between the frequency and circadian timing of eating and metabolic health. We examined the associations of eating frequency and timing with metabolic and inflammatory biomarkers putatively associated with breast cancer risk in women participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination 2009-2010 Survey. Eating frequency and timing variables were calculated from 24-hour food records and included (1) proportion of calories consumed in the evening (5 pm-midnight), (2) number of eating episodes per day, and (3) nighttime fasting duration. Linear regression models examined each eating frequency and timing exposure variable with C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations and the Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR). Each 10 percent increase in the proportion of calories consumed in the evening was associated with a 3 percent increase in CRP. Conversely, eating one additional meal or snack per day was associated with an 8 percent reduction in CRP. There was a significant interaction between proportion of calories consumed in the evening and fasting duration with CRP (p = 0.02). A longer nighttime fasting duration was associated with an 8 percent lower CRP only among women who ate less than 30% of their total daily calories in the evening (p = 0.01). None of the eating frequency and timing variables were significantly associated with HOMA-IR. These findings suggest that eating more frequently, reducing evening energy intake, and fasting for longer nightly intervals may lower systemic inflammation and subsequently reduce breast cancer risk. Randomized trials are needed to validate these associations.